The Care Bill and what happens next

11 March 2014

by Guy Parckar

Over the past few weeks, hundreds of Leonard Cheshire Disability campaigners have sent their MPs an email telling Violet’s story of receiving 15-minute home care visits.

Yesterday the Care Bill, which will change the whole system of care and support in England, had what is known as its ‘Report Stage’ in the House of Commons. This meant that all of those MPs had their last real chance to alter the bill to secure the change that Violet wanted.

We have been asking for some key commitments from the government to make sure we can stop disabled people facing the impossible choices that come from ‘flying’ home care visits. We asked the government to promise:

  • to check how many of these visits councils are buying
  • to ask everyone getting care if their care visits are long enough
  • to produce guidance that councils have to follow that makes it really clear when these flying 15-minute care visits are inappropriate
  • to let the care watchdog look at the issue of short visits to make sure people are getting the support that they need

Sadly we didn’t hear all of these promises — but we did hear some! And yet again all the work from Leonard Cheshire Disability campaigners has helped to make a real difference.

The government minister who responded to MPs confirmed again that there would be guidance for councils on this crucial issue, and he said that the care watchdog would have the powers to look at issues like this.

What we didn’t hear was a promise to actually check how many of these flying visits are happening, and what the people who get care think about them.

So we’re still making progress, and while the Care Bill has nearly finished its progress through Parliament, there are still ways to make a real difference for people like Violet.

We expect the government to produce a consultation on this crucial guidance in the next few months, when we’ll all have a chance to have our say.

We’ve made some fantastic progress so far, with a number of councils now saying they won’t use 15-minute visits, with ministers (even the Secretary of State for Health) and other politicians saying that they don’t think these visits are acceptable, and crucially there will be guidance on this as well.

So while we’ve now seen the last big debate in Parliament on this crucial bill, the fight to make sure it delivers better social care for all those who need it will go on.

You can be part of that fight. Sign up to our campaigns network now.

Guy Parckar is the head of policy and campaigns at Leonard Cheshire Disability. He tweets at @GuyParckar.

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