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7th October 2013

Charity attacks rise in number of 'disgraceful' 15-minute care visits

Short care visits to elderly and disabled people are "disgraceful" and on the rise, a charity has claimed.

In England, 60% of councils use 15-minute visits, which are not long enough to provide adequate care Leonard Cheshire Disability says.

The charity says such visits "simply do not allow enough time to deliver good-quality care". It said these visits can, in some cases, "force disabled people to choose whether to go thirsty or to go to the toilet".

But care managers insisted some short visits could be "fully justified and fully adequate".

The Local Government Association (LGA), said social care was "substantially underfunded" and councils were under increasing pressure.

"Significant cuts to council funding mean local authorities are struggling to meet the rising demand for home care visits," said Katie Hall, chairwoman of the LGA's community and wellbeing board.

She said 15-minute visits "should never be the sole basis for care", but added: "In some circumstances such as administering medication they can be appropriate, but only as part of a wider comprehensive care plan involving longer one-to-one visits."

Data points to rise in number of short care visits

The Leonard Cheshire Disability report on '15-minute visits' analysed data from 63 English local authorities which pointed to a 15% rise in such visits in the last five years. It showed that in some councils more than 75% of care visits were carried out in less than 15 minutes.

The charity's latest research looks at England alone, but in August Unison accused many councils in Scotland of providing "care on the cheap" by arranging 15-minute home visits, and in June the union said 83% of Welsh councils were doing the same.

Research by the UK Homecare Association published last year suggested 87% of home visits in Northern Ireland lasted 30 minutes or less, the highest proportion in the UK (73% in England and 42% in both Scotland and Wales).

'Councils put stricter time limits on care visits' - Read the reserach by the UK Homecare Association

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