The British government has been condemned for offering social care workers a "badge of honour" as the sector continues to face huge pressure during the coronavirus pandemic.
Health Secretary Matt Hancock said a single brand symbolising the entire profession would allow individual workers to "proudly and publicly identify themselves" during the outbreak, giving them the same public recognition as NHS staff.
But the move was met with criticism from industry figures, who pointed to the urgent need for more protective equipment and increased testing.
Rehana Azam, national officer of the GMB union, said care workers "need more than a badge and a pat on their head to define their precious role in society".
She said: "They need the protective equipment and testing on the front line now to protect their lives. Ministers should be moving mountains to support our care sector to get the kit workers need.
"Care workers are serially undervalued, highly skilled and massively underpaid.
"It will take far more than branding to get them the recognition and support they deserve and that battle will continue until care workers are treated the same as NHS workers."
Andy Burnham, Labour mayor of Greater Manchester, tweeted: "Of all the things that long-suffering social care staff in England most need, I would put a badge close to the bottom of the list."