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15-minute care visit inquiry is started by Bradford Council
Bradford Council has confirmed it is trying to establish the extent of 15-minute care visits to the elderly, described as “a horrendous practice” by one of the city’s MPs.
The Telegraph & Argus exclusively revealed in June how a row had broken out over claims that home carers were being given only 15 minutes at a time to wash, cook and care for elderly and needy patients.
Councillor Jeanette Sunderland, the Liberal Democrats group leader on the Council, told of how she had talked to a carer who was “almost in tears” as she had only 15 minutes to say hello, put the kettle on, cook food for the patient, wash them and then have to go.
Coun Amir Hussain, the executive member responsible for adult social care, denied that 15-minute checks were replacing proper care in Bradford.
Now Council leader David Green has said the authority is trying to find out exactly how many 15-minute care visits are taking place, because they do not know.
Coun Green said: “We currently don’t have information on the number of 15-minute visits, or any other length of visit, but we are looking to find ways of collating this information.
“I would expect that all our service provision is based on need and the allocation of appropriate time to the individual and I have had no approach from any local councillor or individual that this is not the case.
“I do have concerns that the massive cuts being imposed on local government will affect the level of care that authorities can offer to the vulnerable in society and the drive towards privatisation with the need for profit will mean that we have to be more vigilant in our procurement policy to ensure that care needs are not sacrificed for profit.”
The news comes as Bradford East MP David Ward said that he welcomes Government moves to stop the practice by councils of commissioning the 15-minute social care visits which he claimed “often force vulnerable people to choose between being fed or being washed”.
Mr Ward said that in response to concerns raised by him and a campaign backed by Leonard Cheshire Disability charity, the Government has cracked down on the care appointments.
He said: “Treating people with dignity and putting the needs of the person first is at the forefront of the Government’s changes in the Care Bill and I must pay tribute to the Government for listening and taking action on the very real concerns and dangers of continuing the practice of 15-minute care visits.”
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