Have a drink or visit the toilet? 'Flying' 15-minute care visits are a disgrace, says charity

Government cutbacks blamed after two-thirds of councils slash elderly and disabled services

Disabled people are being forced to choose between having a drink or going to the toilet during “flying care visits” which last only 15 minutes and are increasingly being used by cash-strapped councils struggling to cope with rising demands on the social care system.

Two-thirds of local councils are commissioning 15-minute visits, despite serious concerns that they deprive vulnerable people of essential care, the charity Leonard Cheshire Disability said.

In some areas, three-quarters of all care visits commissioned were only scheduled to last 15 minutes. Freedom of Information requests submitted by the charity found that, overall, English councils were commissioning 15 per cent more “flying visits” than five years ago. Cuts to social care budgets mean that fewer carers are available and are required to carry out a greater number of shorter visits. The findings come as the Care Bill approaches its third reading in the House of Lords. The charity is calling for an amendment to make care visits at least 30 minutes long.

“It is disgraceful,” said Clare Pelham, chief executive of Leonard Cheshire Disability. “None of us would want family and friends to receive ‘care’ visits as short as 15 minutes. It is vital that Parliament backs our call to end the indignity of rushed care.”

Care and Support Minister Norman Lamb said use of such short visits was “unfair”, both on the disabled and carers. He said: “It’s unrealistic to think 15 minutes is enough time to help people who are older or who have a disability to do everyday things like wash, dress and get out of bed. We are proposing an amendment to the Care Bill which would make it clear that local authorities would have to consider a person’s wellbeing when arranging their care.”

One care worker, who responded to a confidential survey, said that short visits served only to “confuse and upset” people with mental and physical problems. “There is no time to reassure them and ensure they know we are only there to help and assist and that their concerns and problems will be dealt with sympathetically and quickly,” they said.

An 84-year-old woman, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said that carers were: “Looking at the clock all the time. I end up choosing... Have I got time to check if they can fill the hot water bottle? Shall I choose between getting my meal prepared or them emptying my commode? Do I get a drink or do I go to the toilet? I get really lonely and I rely on the visits of my carers, but I know they are never stopping long.”

The Local Government Association (LGA) said care services were suffering because of cuts. “Unless local government finance is put on a sustainable footing, social care will remain substantially underfunded,” said Katie Hall, chair of the LGA’s Community Wellbeing Board.

She said it would be impossible to “substantially raise the standard of care” without a significant increase in Government spending.

News
peopleHowards' Way actress, and former mistress of Jeffrey Archer, was 60
Sport
Romelu Lukaku puts pen to paper
sport
News
Robyn Lawley
people
Arts and Entertainment
Unhappy days: Resistance spy turned Nobel prize winner Samuel Beckett
books
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
News
people
Life and Style
Troy Baker and Ashley Johnson voice the show’s heroes
gamingOnce stilted and melodramatic, Hollywood is giving acting in video games a makeover
News
i100
Life and Style
Phones will be able to monitor your health, from blood pressure to heart rate, and even book a doctor’s appointment for you
techCould our smartphones soon be diagnosing diseases via Health Kit and Google Fit?
News
people
Extras
indybest
Travel
Ryan taming: the Celtic Tiger carrier has been trying to improve its image
travelRyanair has turned on the 'charm offensive' but can we learn to love the cut-price carrier again?
Sport
Usain Bolt confirms he will run in both the heats and the finals of the men's relay at the Commonwealth Games
commonwealth games
Life and Style
Slim pickings: Spanx premium denim collection
fashionBillionaire founder of Spanx launches range of jeans that offers 'thigh-trimming construction'
News
Sabina Altynbekova has said she wants to be famous for playing volleyball, not her looks
people
News
i100
Life and Style
tech'World's first man-made leaves' could use photosynthesis to help astronauts breathe
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

SAP Project Manager

competitive: Progressive Recruitment: SAP PROJECT MANAGER - 3 MONTHS - BERKSHI...

SAP Project Manager

competitive: Progressive Recruitment: SAP PROJECT MANAGER - 3 MONTHS - BERKSHI...

Senior Investment Accounting Change Manager

£600 - £700 per day + competitive: Orgtel: Senior Investment Accounting Change...

Microsoft Dynamics AX Functional Consultant

£65000 - £75000 per annum + benefits: Progressive Recruitment: A rare opportun...

Day In a Page

Save the tiger: The day America’s love of backyard tigers led to a horrific bloodbath

The day America’s love of backyard tigers led to a horrific bloodbath

With only six per cent of the US population of these amazing big cats held in zoos, the Zanesville incident in 2011 was inevitable
Samuel Beckett's biographer reveals secrets of the writer's time as a French Resistance spy

How Samuel Beckett became a French Resistance spy

As this year's Samuel Beckett festival opens in Enniskillen, James Knowlson, recalls how the Irish writer risked his life for liberty and narrowly escaped capture by the Gestapo
We will remember them: relatives still honour those who fought in the Great War

We will remember them

Relatives still honour those who fought in the Great War
Star Wars Episode VII is being shot on film - and now Kodak is launching a last-ditch bid to keep celluloid alive

Kodak's last-ditch bid to keep celluloid alive

Director J J Abrams and a few digital refuseniks shoot movies on film. Simon Usborne wonders what the fuss is about
Once stilted and melodramatic, Hollywood is giving acting in video games a makeover

Acting in video games gets a makeover

David Crookes meets two of the genre's most popular voices
Could our smartphones soon be diagnosing diseases via Health Kit and Google Fit?

Could smartphones soon be diagnosing diseases?

Health Kit and Google Fit have been described as "the beginning of a health revolution"
Ryanair has turned on the 'charm offensive' but can we learn to love the cut-price carrier again?

Can we learn to love Ryanair again?

Four recent travellers give their verdicts on the carrier's improved customer service
Billionaire founder of Spanx launches range of jeans that offers

Spanx launches range of jeans

The jeans come in two styles, multiple cuts and three washes and will go on sale in the UK in October
10 best over-ear headphones

Aural pleasure: 10 best over-ear headphones

Listen to your favourite tracks with this selection, offering everything from lambskin earmuffs to stainless steel
Commonwealth Games 2014: David Millar ready to serve up gold for his beloved Scotland in the end

Commonwealth Games

David Millar ready to serve up gold for his beloved Scotland in the end
UCI Mountain Bike World Cup 2014: Downhill all the way to the top for the Atherton siblings

UCI Mountain Bike World Cup

Downhill all the way to the top for the Atherton siblings
Save the tiger: The animals bred for bones on China’s tiger farms

The animals bred for bones on China’s tiger farms

The big cats kept in captivity to perform for paying audiences and then, when dead, their bodies used to fortify wine
A former custard factory, a Midlands bog and a Leeds cemetery all included in top 50 hidden spots in the UK

A former custard factory, a Midlands bog and a Leeds cemetery

Introducing the top 50 hidden spots in Britain
Ebola epidemic: Plagued by fear

Ebola epidemic: Plagued by fear

How a disease that has claimed fewer than 2,000 victims in its history has earned a place in the darkest corner of the public's imagination
Chris Pratt: From 'Parks and Recreation' to 'Guardians of the Galaxy'

From 'Parks and Recreation' to 'Guardians of the Galaxy'

He was homeless in Hawaii when he got his big break. Now the comic actor Chris Pratt is Hollywood's new favourite action star