FIFTEEN-minute visits to vulnerable elderly and disabled people must come to an end, campaigners say.

Public sector workers union Unison has started the Ethical Care campaign, which calls for an end to 15-minute-long visits for people who need to care in their own homes.

The charter also demands better training for home-care workers, no zero-hour contracts and for employees to receive a living wage.

A petition has already been signed by more than 300 people, and attracted the support of Bolton North East MP David Crausby.

Joan Pritchard-Jones from Bolton Unison said 15 minutes was not enough time for isolated people to receive much-needed care and support.

She said: “We firmly believe that elderly and disabled people in our community should have access to the very best possible level of homecare to help them live independently with dignity.

“Nationally and locally there is a huge drive towards care visits of 15 minutes or less.

“Sometimes this has been commissioned for a specific purpose; at other times it is because corners are being cut.

“For vulnerable people living alone, their only contact with the outside world is sometimes with paid carers. This essential support is invaluable, it should not be impersonal or rushed.”

Mr Crausby said it was important for Bolton Council to adopt the charter.

He added: “Homecare staff look after our parents, our brothers and sisters, our friends.

“They help them to live independently and with dignity.

“But too often they are on low wages with a huge workload and simply not enough time to provide the best quality care.

“Unison has set out some very reasonable proposals to help ensure a basic standard to make sure that care workers have decent pay and conditions.

“They can then focus on looking after the people that we care about.”

You can sign the petition here.