15-minute care: we did it!

23 October 2014

Jane Harrisby Jane Harris

Today we are celebrating. The government has said clearly and simply to local councils that inappropriate 15-minute care visits need to stop.

The guidance they’ve published today says that visits of 15 minutes or less are never appropriate for people who need help with things like going to the loo or washing or dressing. They should instead only ever be used to check if someone has taken their medication or got home safely. Or if someone says they want a short visit. The guidance also says that local councils should keep a watch on the number and length of homecare visits.

Let’s be clear: 15 minute visits will reduce because of this. Councils have to consider this guidance — if they don’t, they will be breaking the law.

This is a massive victory for disabled and older people — and for all the campaigners who have supported the call to end flying care visits.

So today we want to thank 15 people who have helped to end inappropriate 15-minute care visits. Thank you to:

  1. Violet, Henry, Laura, Sally Lubanov and others who remained anonymous for talking about their experiences of 15-minute visits.
  2. Our amazing supporters for signing petitions, emailing MPs and the Department of Health, sharing infographics on Facebook and Twitter and keeping up the pressure.
  3. People we support and staff from Riverview, who came to Downing Street to hand in our Make Care Fair petition.
  4. Laura, the care worker, who talked about the care worker’s perspective of 15-minute care visits.
  5. People we support at Bells Piece who made ‘end 15-minute care’ pictures and sent these to MPs.
  6. People from Fryer’s House who came to Parliament with a loo and a mug to show the horrible choices people have to make because of 15-minute visits.
  7. Peers such as Baroness Meacher and MPs like Paul Burstow, David Blunkett and Anne McGuire who supported us for speaking in debates in Parliament and pushing government to do more.
  8. Esther Rantzen for coming to see a 15-minute care visit and making a film about her experience.
  9. Baroness Kingsmill for including 15-minute care visits in her review of the care system.
  10. Jeremy Hunt, the Secretary of State, for coming to our service in his constituency and spending time hearing about the reality of 15-minute care visits.
  11. Journalists like the BBC’s Mike Sergeant for covering 15-minute care visits and working sensitively with people receiving them.
  12. Ed Miliband for talking about 15-minute care visits at Labour conference this year.
  13. The Association of Directors of Social Services, the Local Government Association, the UK Homecare Association and the Care Quality Commission for discussing with us on the precise recommendations we should make to Department of Health
  14. Staff at Leonard Cheshire Disability across the country who have contacted their MPs and explained what can and can’t be done in 15 minutes.
  15. Norman Lamb and everyone at Department of Health for listening and changing the guidance to make it crystal clear that 15 minutes isn’t enough.

This doesn’t mean that everything in the guidance today is right. We don’t think the government has done enough to make sure that everyone who needs care gets it and we are supporting the work of the Care and Support Alliance to change this. But we are pleased there will be a lot fewer 15-minute care visits and for thousands of people that is reason to celebrate.

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