Money and minutes: how councils fund social care

2 July 2014

Jane Harrisby Jane Harris

You may have heard two terrible pieces of news this week. First, the Local Government Association told us that care for disabled people is at ‘make or break’ point. And yesterday the Association of Directors of Adult Social Services said that services would soon be ‘unsustainable’ unless we find new money. It makes for pretty grim reading.

What does all this mean for disabled people?

Directors of adult social services, who hold the purse strings in councils for care services, say they think fewer people will get care as a result of budget cuts. And even those who get some help will get less of it.

At Leonard Cheshire, we don’t know of people who get more care than they need. So we can only imagine that people who desperately need help will end up without it. We are really worried that this will mean more 15-minute visits — or even shorter time slots — which leave people having to choose between going to the loo and having a cup of tea.

While a few councils use these short visits responsibly — for example, just to check if someone has taken their medication. But too many are using them for what’s called ‘personal care’ — things like getting washed, dressed and going to the loo.

Is there anything we can do?

Today of all days, it is really important that national government takes a stand. We need the Department of Health to say very clearly that 15-minute visits are unacceptable for personal care.

You can help. Send a message now to Department of Health and say that that’s what you want.

A future with more people making terrible choices between drinking a cup of tea and going to the loo doesn’t bear thinking about. Please email the Department of Health today.

Jane Harris is managing director of campaigns and engagement at Leonard Cheshire Disability. She tweets at @jane_harris77.

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