Leading charity calls time on 15 minute care calls

  •  Leonard Cheshire Disability, one of the UK’s largest voluntary sector providers of social care, to stop bidding for 15 minute home care contracts
  • Charity launches ‘Make Care Fair’ to petition government to end 15 minute visits

Leonard Cheshire Disability logoLeonard Cheshire Disability has today (Thursday 4 July) announced it has put an end to bidding for future contracts providing 15 minute home care visits for disabled people. This comes exactly three weeks after the Government called for an end to care workers being limited to 15 minute care slots.

Leonard Cheshire Disability is the UK’s largest voluntary sector provider of social care services to disabled people. With over 7,000 staff, the charity supports over 4,600 disabled people either in their own homes or in residential services.

Announcing the charity’s policy change in a speech to the National Disabilities Conference in London, Chief Executive Clare Pelham told delegates:

“As pressure on council budgets grows, the time allowed for care visits is decreasing. As a charity that has been providing high quality care for over 60 years, we know that 15 minutes is insufficient time to give disabled people high quality personal care and support. To put it clearly – it’s not care if the support worker does not have time to take their coat off. Let alone have a proper conversation.

“Care workers are telling us that they can not properly support disabled people to get up, to bathe, get dressed and to have breakfast in 15 minutes. This is not care. It is box-ticking. The situation has become critical. This is why we are going to stop bidding for 15 minute home care contracts, unless the person specifically requests a short visit, for example to receive an injection.

“In the most extreme cases we have seen a tender for visits of only 10 minutes. This is entirely unacceptable. The test of a decent society is how it supports the most vulnerable. The people we support are often unable to carry out basic everyday tasks that we all take for granted.

“We understand the pressures on council spending. But there comes a time when it is right to draw the line. And to say so. We urge the government to act now and use the Care Bill which is currently in Parliament to actually stop inappropriate and indecent care visits from being commissioned”

She continued:

“We are also urging the public to join our Make Care Fair campaign and sign our petition to end 15 minute care which we will be taking to the Prime Minister this autumn. Please show us you care too.”

Launch of Make Care Fair campaign

As the Care Bill begins Committee Stage in the House of Lords, Leonard Cheshire Disability is urging Peers to support its amendment which would give the Government the power to stop inappropriate 15 minute visits from being commissioned. At the moment the Bill does not act to prevent fifteen minute care visits.

Alongside the call to end the commissioning of 15 minute home care visits, the charity is today launching Make Care Fair, its campaign to:

  • Make it compulsory for care providers to carry out annual surveys of the people they provide care to so they receive early warning of unsafe, unsuitable or unkind services
  • Ensure care is commissioned on the basis of the quality of support it provides, and not just how much it costs
  • Make sure that care services support disabled people to be able to participate in work or other activity
  • Ensure that every person who provides paid care to a disabled or older person is suitably trained and supported
  • Ensure a genuine choice of at least two options on how and where disabled people receive support
  • Call for stronger economic regulation of the social care market to ensure that care fees are genuinely spent on providing the best possible value for money care

What care workers have told Leonard Cheshire Disability

In a confidential survey of Leonard Cheshire Disability care workers who visit disabled people in their homes, a number of concerns around 15 minute visits were highlighted:

“I feel pressured not to run over the time and the person is not getting long enough as I’m rushing about to try and fit everything in. I normally run over the 15 minutes”

“This is impossible as providing personal care requires more time than 15 minutes. This does not include any additional time to offer meals or medication administration.”

“People are not robots and neither are staff. Service users need respect and dignity and not every morning or visit goes the same.”

“15 minute ‘flying visits’ generally confuse and upset people with mental and physical problems. There is no time to reassure them and ensure they know we are only there to help and assist and that their concerns and problems will be dealt with sympathetically and quickly.”

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. Visit www.LCDisability.org

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