HOME care staff have warned of a “crisis” with visits shortened and cancelled as the service is hit by absences over winter.

The Glasgow Times understands cuts and staff absence rates mean clients at home in some parts of the city are being told they are having visits cancelled or half-hour visits reduced to 10-15 minutes.

Staff have told the Glasgow Times of workers so exhausted many are off sick and managers are under so much pressure they are forced off with stress.

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The HSCP which manages the service said during high absence periods it works with families to ensure care aspects of visits are delivered.

It said when there are increased levels of absence, the service will prioritise time for those who are most in need and service users and their families are told in advance of any potential changes or delays to visits.

Extra agency staff are being drafted in to provide cover but still, workers say they are expected to fit in more clients in a shift.

One worker said: “These are vulnerable people we are talking about, who rely on the service.

“Pressure is being put on the carers, and managers are stressed as well.

“Medication is being missed, something serious is going to happen.”

The Glasgow Times has been told 100 visits were cancelled last week.

The source said: “It is worse at weekends and when there are more people discharged from hospital. The place is just a riot.”

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The HSCP said absence is always an issue in winter.

A spokeswoman for Glasgow’s Health and Social Care Partnership said: “The focus of home care staff in Glasgow is on improving outcomes for services users rather than how long a package of care tasks takes to complete.  

“However, certain care tasks can take less time than the requested care package, and a vast majority of visits are much longer than 15 minutes in duration.

“Carers will always take an appropriate amount of time to meet the support needs of service users.

“There is always an element of staff absences especially at this time of year and we actively engage with the workforce on these issues to ensure cover is in place.”

Union leaders, however, said funding shortfalls have left the service facing an emergency.

Keir Greenaway, GMB Scotland organiser in public services, said: "The gradual erosion of the home care service has been stressful and dismaying for our members and alarming for the people who rely on their care.

"This situation could and should have been avoided but is now an emergency and demands emergency action.

"Restoring care and support for vulnerable people told they will not receive their usual home visits is the absolute priority and demands a properly, resourced service built on the commitment and experience of our members.

"They are care workers because they care and it is no absolutely no surprise that so many are working themselves to a standstill and buckling under such pressure.”