Department of Health’s response to Leonard Cheshire Disability’s campaign about its report ‘Ending 15-minute Care’.

The Department of Health headquarters in Whitehall

The Department of Health headquarters in Whitehall (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The report and campaign have effectively highlighted the problem of poor local authority commissioning practices. The Department of Health fully agrees that it is unrealistic to think that 15 minutes is enough time to help people who are older or who have a disability to do everyday things like wash, dress and get out of bed. It is not fair on those who need support and it is not fair on care workers. The report and the accompanying on-line campaign have been a valuable opportunity to spread this message, and encourage local authority commissioners to change the ways they operate.

There are too many examples of councils buying rushed care visits and the department is working to change this. Better care is needed for the 300,000 people currently receiving home care and for the millions more who will need it in years to come.

This is why, this summer, the department announced the Home care Innovation Challenge, which has brought together local authorities, care providers and carers to look at how care can be improved, including the way councils buy their services. The department also intends to work with the Local Government Association (LGA) and the Association of Directors of Adult Social Services (ADASS) to develop a set of commissioning standards to support local authorities to gauge how effectively they are commissioning services, and to bring about improvement led by the social care sector.

Although ministers were not able to support the amendments suggested in the report, they hope that supporters of Leonard Cheshire Disability’s campaign will be content with the amendment that the House of Lords agreed, which makes it clear that local authorities must consider a person’s wellbeing when arranging their care. Authorities that commission care in ways that force people to choose between being washed and being fed would clearly be failing to meet this duty.

The department will be working over the coming months to develop statutory guidance on commissioning and market shaping, which will be a valuable opportunity to influence local practice.


Care and Support in the Community Does not Mean Real Care for the Elderly

Tougher checks may be introduced to help clamp down on rushed home care visits Care and Support Minister Norman Lamb will announce today.

Speaking at the National Children and Adult Services conference, he will say that from next April the Care Quality Commission is proposing to look at whether home care visits are long enough to respond to people’s needs. They will also consider looking at how staff working conditions might be impacting on care.

To assess this, the CQC are considering looking at:Quality Care Commission

  • whether the service is able to respond to people’s needs in the allocated time
  • whether the care is delivered with compassion, dignity and respect
  • how many staff have zero hour contracts
  • the levels of staff turnover

Recent media coverage has highlighted the lack of time allotted to care for people who are older or who have a disability in their homes. It means many are left waiting to get into or out of bed, waiting to eat or drink or left wanting basic human contact. This does not just have an effect on those receiving care but places huge pressure on staff, who often have to work over their hours for below the minimum wage to make sure people get basic levels of support they need.

Care and Support Minister Norman Lamb said:

The current approach to home care is not fair on those who need support, it’s not fair on care workers and it is stripping away the human element of caring.

Fifteen minutes are not enough time to help people who are older or who have a disability to do everyday things like wash, dress and get out of bed. Some do not even get the chance to have a conversation with their home care worker, who may be the only person they see that day.

These tougher checks would ask specific questions about the amount of time allocated for visits and whether staff are suitably supported to do this. This is particularly important because these are services delivered in private, behind closed doors. I want to build a fairer society, and that means providing better care in care homes, and in people’s own homes.

The CQC would use this information to drive its regulatory activity, so it knows when, where and what to inspect and is alerted quickly to the risk of poor quality care in home care settings.

Care In The CommunityEditor Comment: 

You have heard me talk about “Care In our Community” and how it is so often said  ,but seldom upheld by the application. This is announcement is a prime example of what l am trying to say, so let me highlight the points from the examples of what l have seen!  

The first point that the “Care and Support Minister” makes, is that from next April the CQC is proposing to look at whether care visits are long enough, to respond to people’s needs?

Well Mr Lamb and the CQC – if you gave some carers 30 minutes or an hour – they are incapable in responding to anyone persons need! As they have one reason for being carers and that is get as many calls completed as possible ,and as fast as possible. A number of them even have the time allotted and decide that they can fit in another call, and leave earlier than they are contract to provide. The fact is that to sign in and out they have to ring into a computer and it logs the time of arrival and departure, but nothing ever gets flagged up by the management. As both the carers and the management/owners do not want to stop this practice, as the real reason anyone but the few care ,is money.

The “Care in the Community” act was built and constructed with the intention of making money, not caring for people, that takes compassion and understanding! This is just something many carers are not capable of as they took the job, as it was the only job they could get, this was an actual statement l have heard on numerous occasions.

So to your second point of assessing care behind closed doors and whether carers are equipped to provide such care, in short they are not capable, they are not equipped with adequate training and as regards applying the care this is woefully inadequate. My personal experience of watching carers is unbelievable, in fact so much so that l am preparing a report for the ” Adult Social Care Services” at the end of this month ,so cannot comment at present but will revisit  with results of my findings shortly. But to add that certain training on site is required, not a 15 minute call by the trainer to assess a risk using a hoist or other apparatus in the home. This call by the way is then charged as a care call and added to the clients invoice at the end of the month.                     


Press release: First Social Care Report puts spotlight on leadership


ofsted-assess-ideal (Photo credit: Terry Freedman)

Children’s services in England need strong and stable leadership to bring about sustained improvement in the help, care and protection of our most vulnerable young people, Ofsted said today.

Figures published in Ofsted’s first stand-alone Social Care Annual Report show that of the 17 local authorities judged ‘inadequate’ in the past year, 11 had seen a new Director of Children’s Services recently installed while 12 had undergone another major change in senior leadership of one sort or another in the period prior to inspection.

Today’s report finds that in a climate of turbulence, increased workloads and intense scrutiny of children’s social care – much of it arising from public anxiety following a catalogue of high-profile child deaths – many areas are struggling to improve their performance.

At the end of the first full three-year cycle of inspections, only four in 10 local authorities were judged to be ‘good’ or better for safeguarding children. And there are 20 local authorities (13 per cent or one in seven) judged by Ofsted as ‘inadequate’ for their child protection arrangements at the time of their most recent inspection.

The report finds that the nationwide map of poor performance is complex and changing – with the group of authorities currently judged inadequate looking very different to that of July 2012.

However, inspectors have found that a persistent absence of stable leadership was a feature of most ‘inadequate’ local authorities. In these weakest places:

  • The most basic acceptable practice was not in place
  • Supervision, management oversight, purposeful work with families and decisive action where children were at risk from harm were ineffective
  • The views of children and families were rarely considered
  • Support from key statutory partners – health, police, schools – was weak and poorly co-ordinated; and
  • In some inadequate authorities, managers did not seem to have a firm understanding of what constituted good practice – making the management of risk and support for staff at the front-line almost impossible.
  • More at: