15 minutes is not enough
28 May 2014
by Alice Mitchell-Pye
I hope you’ve had a chance to watch our film about 15-minute care. It shows a day in the life of Laura, a care worker, and just two of the people she supports, Henry and Janet.
With the help of Esther Rantzen, a dedicated supporter of our campaign, we have been able to provide a real and worrying snapshot of the reality of 15-minute care. Unfortunately these flying care visits are a day-to-day occurrence for far too many disabled and older people.
The passion, skill and commitment of Laura and thousands of care workers like her continually inspires us. Sadly, the reality for Laura and many of her colleagues is as many as 15 short visits in a single day. As she tells Esther, with as little as 15 minutes to help someone to the loo, make their lunch and help them with medication, it really is ‘straight in and straight out again’. This bothers her and it should bother all of us too.
‘Laura achieves miracles but what can you do in 15 minutes?’ —
It’s worth taking a moment to stop and think about it. I know that I couldn’t get up, washed, dressed and eat my breakfast in that time, so I really think we should ask ourselves why we expect it of disabled and older people who need care and support.
‘It would make a big difference if I had longer visits. They’re trying to rush me all the time. I’m very depressed, I cry a lot and I’m very lonely.’ —
This is not fair on Janet or Henry. It’s not fair on anyone who needs care and support. At one time or another, this will be almost all of us – me, you, your mum, your friend, the person you sit next to at work. Indeed, as Esther reminds us in the film, ‘Just think about it for your own parents, for your grandparents. 15 minutes is not enough.’
That’s why at Leonard Cheshire we are campaigning to put an end to flying 15-minute care visits.
People are listening
Thanks to your support, people are listening and we are delighted to have achieved some real successes along the way. Several local councils in England have already committed to stop commissioning 15-minute visits and last week the Labour party announced they would put an end to 15-minute visits completely. We have also made real progress showing the current government that these visits are not only unfair but also poor value for money and we know they are listening to us.
But we know that we still have a long way to go to make care fair for everyone. As long as local councils continue to commission flying care visits, we will campaign to put an end to them, and we will need your support.
This week we’re waiting for the government to release their guidance on 15-minute visits and we’ll let you know more about how you can help us next week. We have our fingers crossed that this guidance will be another big step towards fair care for everyone.
Alice Mitchell-Pye is a policy and campaigns officer at Leonard Cheshire Disability. She tweets as @alice_pye.