clock cutFlying Care Visits’ is the latest scandal to hit the news and the home care industry. Here at Unity Care Solutions, we applaud the media for bringing it to the public’s attention. This is the best possible way to force much needed change to the care sector.

Sadly, in today’s cost-driven world, budgets and cost-cutting takes precedence over human care and dignity. And that’s a disgrace!

According to the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE), some 470,000 people in the UK receive ‘social care’ visits in their own homes.  This includes elderly people and those with disabilities.  The NICE guidelines state that home care visits should last at least 30 minutes unless:

  • The visit is part of a wider care package
  • The care worker is well known to the client
  • If the duties can be adequately performed in less time

That’s a start but it’s not enough. Those last two points will give budget-cutting local authorities and unscrupulous care providers carte blanche to cut corners and ignore the guidance.  How long does a care worker have to work with the client to become ‘well known’?  Two days? Two weeks? Two months?

And surely NICE realises home and social care is about far more than performing ‘duties’.  For many people, the carer might be their only contact with the outside world.  Of course helping with things like washing and getting dressed are important. But so is social interaction.  Imagine sitting all day – every day – on your own with just the TV for company and nobody to talk to.  Imagine watching the clock waiting for the visit from your so-called carer who flies in and out barely having the chance to say hello before they say goodbye.

NICE reported that eight local authorities commissioned nearly 600,000 thousand home care visits lasting five minutes or less between 2010 and 2011. Five minutes!  Barely time to make their client a cup of tea, let alone provide a vestige of care.

75% of councils commission home care visits of just 15 minutes. That might be their idea of care, but it’s not Unity’s.  Unity Care’s minimum home visits last half an hour.  As usual, Unity is leading the way in home care in Sussex and Kent.  Let’s hope media pressure prevails and those uncaring, unfeeling council penny-pinchers see the light BEFORE it’s their turn to be on the receiving end of their care cuts.


Image credit: 123rf Cowpland