FRONTLINE care workers have voted 'overwhelmingly' to strike in a dispute over job profiles and qualifications needed to administer patient medication.

Earlier this month, the Clydebank Post reported elderly care in West Dunbartonshire was in danger of "coming to a standstill" as a result of staff unhappy at being asked 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) raised their fears, claiming Health and Social Care Partnership (HSPC) chiefs were 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.

The dismay at the working conditions sparked trade unions Unison, the GMB and Unite to undertake a consultative ballot and now, after 100 per cent of members of Unison West Dunbartonshire voted yes to industrial action, HSPC home carers are set to walk out if bosses don't get around the negotiating table.

A Unison West Dunbartonshire spokesperson says: "We ran this consultative ballot in association with our sister unions GMB and UNITE, this type of joint working ensures that we are collectively strong.

"A huge thank you to all of our members who answered our calls during the call-around, the feedback we have is invaluable.

"Our members deserve praise and recognition for the outstanding work they do in our communities, a huge turnout and yes vote, with 100 per cent of members voting Yes in our Consultative Ballot is a seriously strong mandate from our members.

"We await updates from the employer now and from our sister unions whose ballots close soon."

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

Carers looked after by the GMB voted in similarly high numbers for strike action, with 91 per cent saying yes.

A GMB spokesperson said: "The GMB are disappointed that management hasn’t got around the table to try & resolve issues.

"We are getting closer to moving to a formal postal ballot, which members probably don’t want and result in clients having no service."

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 West Dunbartonshire HSCP spokesperson said; "The Council is aware of the results of the ballot and will continue to work closely with trade unions during these discussions."