East Lancashire councils defend criticism of 15-minute appointments for elderly and disabled (From Blackburn Citizen)
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East Lancashire councils defend criticism of 15-minute appointments for elderly and disabled
Steve Tingle of Blackburn with Darwen Council, agrees that budget cuts have made home care organisation more challenging.
LANCASHIRE County and Blackburn with Darwen councils have defended their use of 15-minute appointments as part of wider care packages for the elderly, disabled and vulnerable.
Both local authorities admit to using such visits by staff occasionally, but said such brief calls were the exception rather than the rule.
Responding to criticism of 15 minute stopovers from a major disability charity, the two councils’ commissioning bosses said they were mainly used as interim checks between longer visits.
Leonard Cheshire Disability yesterday branded short care calls to elderly and disabled people as ‘disgraceful’, warning their use was rising.
It published results of a survey which showed that 60 per cent of English councils use 15-minute visits, claiming they ‘force disabled people to choose whether to go thirsty or to go to the toilet’.
The charity wants the Government to ban the ‘scandal of flying 15-minute visits’.
Blackburn with Darwen council commissioning director Steve Tingle said: “We have different packages commissioned for domiciliary care provision ranging from one hour to 15 minutes depending on the needs of individuals and the level of care. The substantial budget cuts faced by the council have made the organisation of home care more challenging, but we remain committed to one- to-one care and always seek to find the most appropriate level of care for each individual.
“The level and nature of care is discussed with the person concerned and family carers as appropriate and fifteen minute sessions are often an effective way of undertaking a check to see that a person is fine and well.
“If people have more intensive support needs then an longer visit time is agreed.” His Lancashire counterpart, Mike Banks, said: “When the council organises care, we do not routinely commission home visits of 15 minutes' duration from care providers.
"Many people now receive support in the form of personal budgets which they can spend as they choose on their support.
“This means that they can tailor the care they receive, including the length of visits, to meet their needs.”
Care minister Norman Lamb said the Care Bill would prevent ‘inappropriate’ short visits for feeding or bathing but would not outlaw them.
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