Campaign to end 15-minute care visits taken to heart of government

  • One in five councils provided rushed visits for personal care of disabled people despite Government guidance
  • 10,000 plus people have signed petition to end ‘flying’ visits
  • 35,000 people receive 15-minute homecare visits

Leonard Cheshire Disability campaigners and supporters took a bid to end the unacceptable use of 15-minute care visits straight to the Department of Health.

The charity believes homecare visits this short – often to carry out essential tasks such as washing, dressing and eating – are undignified.  People are being left facing impossible choices such as using the toilet or having a cup of tea.

More than 10,000 people have signed a petition for the Care Minister to take action to end this type of flying visit by local homecare staff in England. They also called for the Government to find a lasting solution to the social care funding crisis that contributes to these visits continuing.

Norman Lamb MP, Liberal Democrat Shadow Secretary for Health, joined supporters and campaigners at the Department of Health.

Leonard Cheshire says disabled people must be consulted to ensure social care is properly funded in the future and that an independent cross-party commission on the issue is essential.

Short visits continue despite statutory Care Act guidance stating that: “short home-care visits of 15 minutes or less are not appropriate for people who need support with intimate care needs”. The National Institute for Clinical Excellence (NICE) also advises that carers must spend a minimum of 30 minutes during visits to help keep people well.

Research by Leonard Cheshire published earlier this year found that 34 councils (22%) are still commissioning 15-minute visits for personal care, while another 60 councils gave unclear responses when asked or did not respond.

Neil Heslop, CEO of Leonard Cheshire Disability, said: “Rushed homecare visits of 15-minutes are undignified and must be consigned to a thing of the past everywhere. No one would want this kind of visit for a loved one. Disabled and elderly people deserve much better.

“We were shocked to discover that – as recently as last year – more than 30,000 disabled and elderly people in England were still getting this poor level of support.

“Sub-standard homecare is symptomatic of the desperate state of social care funding across the country and the new Government is considering solutions to this crisis.  It’s essential it fully listens to the views of disabled people, so that proper levels of care are available in the future and appropriate funding secured in the long-term.”

Norman Lamb MP, Liberal Democrat Shadow Secretary for Health, said: “Social care needs to be properly funded and we owe it to disabled and elderly people who rely on these services to find a sustainable solution.

“I’m glad to be able to join Leonard Cheshire supporters in sending a clear message to the Government on this issue.”

Leonard Cheshire Disability

Leonard Cheshire Disability is the UK’s largest voluntary sector provider of services for disabled people. Our services include high-quality care and community support together with innovative projects supporting disabled people into education, employment and entrepreneurship. Worldwide, our global alliance of Cheshire partners supports disabled people into education and employment, and works in more than 50 countries. With over 7,000 staff, the charity supports over 4,600 disabled people either in their own homes or in residential services.  Visit www.leonardcheshire.org

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