Care visits 'at least 30 minutes long'
HEALTH chiefs have insisted their care visits are at least 30 minutes long after a damning report laid bare the scandal of 15-minute visits by council carers.
The Ending 15-minute Care report by charity Leonard Cheshire Disability found that 60 per cent of local authorities commission 15-minute care visits, with some delivering a shocking 75 per cent of all care visits in 15 minutes.
However Devon County Council has confirmed its standard appointments are 30 minutes long.
The charity claims vulnerable people requiring care are often forced to choose between whether they go thirsty or go to the toilet, describing the visits as "depriving disabled and older people of their dignity".
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Leonard Cheshire wants a ban on what it calls the "scandal of flying 15-minute visits".
And Clare Pelham, chief executive of the charity, said that the Care Bill, currently going through Parliament, will do nothing to end these fleeting visits and the charity is lobbying the government to prevent the practice in England.
The Devon Health and Social Care Forum has welcomed the news that the council does not commission 15-minute visits however wants further assurances that good quality care is provided.
"We are glad to learn that the council's care policy does not limit the time of a carer's visit to 15 minutes," a spokesperson said. "However, it is not the length of time of the visit that is of importance, but the quality of care provided during the visit."
The forum has launched a campaign asking for all health and care workers to be registered on a county data base recognising quality. To gain registration the organisation providing the workers must demonstrate it provides appropriate training, regular monitoring of visits and supportive supervision for the workers.
Carers will be required to show they have completed the training programme and provide good quality care.
A spokesperson for Devon County Council, added: "Our standard appointments are 30 minutes and above during which time carers provide the personal care and support needed. However, some don't need personal care, but they do require a short visit to check on their welfare, which can sometimes take 15 minutes.
"We do commission these short visits, but these account for less than two per cent of the commissioning overall. We continually evaluate people's appointments so that we can ensure that the length of visits are sufficient to meet their needs."