A care assistant has accused national retailers of snubbing carers during the coronavirus crisis – after missing out on special offers reserved for NHS staff.
But Dawn Parker says she has been told she does not qualify for the offers because she is not employed by the NHS.
The 48-year-old – who works 15 hours-a-day caring for people in their own homes – says the offers should be extended to all key workers.
The mum-of-four, from Biddulph, said: “I was in B&M, in Biddulph, and the lady in front of me told the staff member that she worked for the NHS and she was given 10 per cent off.
“I asked if I could get 10 per cent off as well because I am a carer, but I was told ‘no’. I had just gone there from work and I was in my uniform and had my ID badge. I was very upset as I spend a lot of money in B&M and I sometimes buy items for my clients from there.
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“I also saw the advert for the NHS unlimited data offer for EE. I spend £150 a month with them and have been a customer for 11 years.
“I rang EE, inquired about the offer, and they asked for my NHS number. I said that I do not work for the NHS. I told them I work in the community as a carer and they said they couldn’t do anything for me.
“It’s disgusting. We’re still out there caring for people, it doesn’t matter if you work in the NHS or not. I know the NHS are doing a good thing, but so are we.
“We’re sharing the same risks as the NHS and I feel so sad that we’re not being recognised.
“I go to work at 7am and sometimes don’t return until 10pm. Everyday I go to work and hope I don’t catch coronavirus.
“Every time I go out of the door I’m so scared. I visit 10 different homes a day and I don’t know what I’m going to come across. It’s frightening.
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“I choose to work because these people need to be cared for and I’ve been a carer for 30 years. But companies aren’t recognising us as key workers.
“We shouldn’t have to ask for recognition. It’s so unfair.”
EE says Dawn would not qualify for the free unlimited data boost as she already has an EE unlimited everything plan.
An EE spokesman said: “We recognise there are a huge number of key workers across the country working hard, and we’re immensely thankful.
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“We’re prioritising vulnerable and disabled customers as well as NHS staff for our unlimited offers but we’re always reviewing how we can help further.
“We’re also supporting customers who are having issues directly related to the pandemic and are helping them with bills in any way we can.”
StokeonTrentLive approached B&M for a statement. The company has declined to comment.