Charity calls for an end to 15 minute home care visits

Andrew Ewen and Stuart Robertson of the Leonard Cheshire Disability charity met Rachael Hamilton in the Scottish Parliament last November.
Andrew Ewen and Stuart Robertson of the Leonard Cheshire Disability charity met Rachael Hamilton in the Scottish Parliament last November.

The Leonard Cheshire charity that supports disabled people in the UK is campaigning to stop local authorities authorising 15 minute personal care visits.

The charity argues that these flying visits are destroying lives and they made Freedom of Information requests to all UK councils asking how many people in their area received 15 minute visits.

One in three councils in Scotland commissioned 15 minute visits for the provision of personal care, and Leonard Cheshire revealed that 10 of the 32 Scottish councils that responded, and 13 “gave unclear responses or did not provide responses at all”.

Scottish Borders Council’s web site shows that they responded to a FOI request in September last year, and when asked how many adults received domiciliary care commissioned from external providers of 15 minutes or less, SBC’s response was 48.7%. The council also revealed that 385 people received at least one visit lasting 15 minutes or less as part of their care package

The council was also asked if it commissioned any domiciliary care visits lasting 15 minutes or less for the provision of personal care (including any tasks related to washing and grooming, assistance with toileting or continence, dressing, eating and drinking) in the year 2016/17.

SBC’s response was: “Some personal care tasks are undertaken in 15 minutes, however, there is nothing in the contract that determines what can and cannot be undertaken in 15 minutes. The social worker along with the individual will agree what can be done in specified time. This will need further agreement with the provider.”

Leonard Cheshire has been campaigning against flying care visits for the last five years, saying that this practice of 15 minute visits can deprive people of dignified and compassionate care.

Leonard Cheshire’s director for Scotland, Stuart Robertson said: “These damning figures show that many vulnerable people are being failed by the social care system. Over 5000 Scots are being subjected to degrading 15 minute visits to support them with personal care needs.

“We have to urgently address this scandal and ensure people receive the person-centred care they deserve.”