Bolton Council defends itself after report highlights national 'scandal' of social workers' 15-minute 'flying visits'
BOLTON Council has defended its use of short care visits after a charity highlighted the “scandal of flying 15-minute visits” in a report.
Leonard Cheshire Disability found that 60 per cent of English councils conducted care visits of 15 minutes or less, something the charity described as “disgraceful”.
The charity said the short visits could leave a disabled person choosing between having a drink and going to the toilet, while 40 minutes was the minimum time needed for a visit to be done with dignity.
Bolton Council admits that some of its care visits can last less than 15 minutes — but that visits are catered to individual needs.
Such brief visits have been criticised by the Conservative deputy leader Cllr Andy Morgan, who is also a member of the council’s Health and Scrutiny Committee.
“Huge changes are not needed, only 25 minutes as a minimum as opposed to 15. I would not be happy if I needed care and that was all the time someone could spare when they visited.”
Leonard Cheshire Disability has campaigned for these visits to be abolished and has called on health minister Lord Howe to make an amendment to the Care Bill, which is set to go before the Lords tomorrow.
The government said its legislation would stop “inappropriate” short visits, but insisted the visits were useful in certain circumstances.
Cllr Morgan added: “By the time that a carer has arrived at somebody’s home there is only really time for them to make a brew.
“There is no real interaction for people and that is a crucial part of care for elderly people who are housebound, or even disabled. Fifteen- minute visits are obviously unacceptable.”
The council’s deputy leader Cllr Linda Thomas said: “Each resident who is eligible to receive care in their own home receives a personal assessment which helps us to establish their care needs. Care may be delivered in more or less time than 15 minutes but will be catered to the individual’s needs.
“There are occasions when some visits are required to overrun their allotted time, in urgent situations, and our contracted providers have the flexibility to meet the needs of the service users in this way.”
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