By Debbie le Quesne

15-minute care scandal: Where the blame really lies

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I am very proud to work in the care industry – it’s full of genuine, caring people who selflessly give to their ‘calling’ over and over again.

But I am ashamed of a government that has created a culture of dearth over the funding of such an essential service.

I have always said that the barometer of care for any nation is the way we look after our frail and elderly – often those people who are marginalised through no fault of their own.

Last night and this morning our news is full of the 15-minute care slot shame and the cases of failing care. It is true, people have been reduced to commodity, where care appears more about box ticking than compassion,

As I’ve listened, watched and read this news unfold I’m aware there’s nothing new here. But UK charity Leonard Cheshire Disability has raised the issue and it’s become the latest ‘care scandal’.

Its call for an end to the ‘scandal of flying 15-minute visits’ is backed by TV presenter Esther Rantzen who said that the disabled are being treated ‘like products on a conveyor belt’.

The warning comes amid growing concern that cash-strapped councils are putting the elderly and disabled in danger by cutting back on the amount of time carers have to provide help with basic tasks, including dressing, bathing and heating up meals.

A survey of English local authorities found that two-thirds are commissioning visits of just 15 minutes. That figure is up 15 per cent on last year.

The charity is calling for the Care Bill, which will be debated in the House of Lords on Wednesday, to be amended to make care visits at least 30 minutes long.

I am aware some calls – especially med calls – are worth no more than 15 minutes, but it’s the culture of rushed care that concerns me.

There’s an untold amount of misery and heartache ‘out there’ and the frustration of care providers working to Government-driven guidelines is tangible. Where will it all end?

I wonder what history will write over the care legacy of this coalition government? Personally, I believe those who need most have been abandoned and dedicated care staff and providers have been left to plug the cavernous holes.

I just hope that the public is discerning about this news. It’s not the care providers who are at fault and neither is it the local authorities. This mess can be firmly laid at the famous black door of Number 10.


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