ELDERLY care in West Dunbartonshire will come to a "standstill" if carers vote to strike amid a row over training and job profiles, according to a union.

The area’s Health and Social Care Partnership (HSPC) has been accused of putting patient lives in danger by asking carers who are not qualified to perform tasks outwith their training, such as administering medication or applying incontinence bags and catheters.

Concerned members of the area's joint trade unions (JTU) have now raised their fears, claiming HSPC chiefs are trying to move them from a grade three position to a grade four without having to pay the increased salary such a step-up would entail.

And a JTU spokesperson told the Clydebank Post the local authority’s HSPC is in "meltdown".

They said: “If they went on strike, care would be at a standstill basically.

“But that is what they are making the carers do because they have messed the carers about for long enough.”

The JTU have said they passed these worries to the Care Inspectorate – the care watchdog - who told the union that only fully trained carers should be in charge of medicating patients.

“That’s the words that have been used by the Care Inspectorate,” the GMB added.

“To do these tasks that the council are asking these grade three carers to do, it needs to be signed by a competent person who has had the training.

“We’ve been finding out that a lot of them, even the augmented carers don’t have the training.

“The whole HSPC is in complete meltdown.”

Currently, the grade three job specification states the role consists of the "awareness of medication and prompting medication".

The Care Inspectorate define the "promoting" of medication as reminding a person of the time and asking if they have or are going to take their medicines. The person is still in control of their medicines and may decide not to take them or to take them later.

However, a grade four can administer the medication, because they are fully trained and receive a higher salary.

A spokesperson for West Dunbartonshire Health and Social Care Partnership said: “We are aware of plans for consultative ballots within the Care at Home service and continue to work with trade union colleagues in regard to this."