Disabled and elderly home care: Crisis talks being held

Care minister Norman Lamb is meeting care providers later to discuss what he says is a crisis in care of the elderly and disabled at home.

Mr Lamb says a quarter of all clients in England are unhappy with the service they receive.

BBC social affairs correspondent Michael Buchanan says a priority will be ensuring visits last longer - at present some only last 10 minutes.

Continuity will also be called for, so people are familiar with their carers.

Hundreds of thousands of people are currently looked after by companies in their own homes and that number will increase in the coming years as the population ages, says the BBC's Michael Buchanan.

Mr Lamb believes the current system results in poor care, low wages and neglect, and is warning that there could be an abuse scandal in this sector, as serious as the problems which occurred at Stafford hospital.

Much domiciliary care, also known as home care, is paid for by local councils who say that a funding crisis - exacerbated by austerity cuts - limits the amount they can afford.

Carers should not be constrained to providing care in 15-minute slots and they should not receive less than the minimum wage because of non-payment of travel time, Mr Lamb said ahead of the talks.

Those in need of care should not have to endure a "parade of unfamiliar care workers", he added.

"We need to transform care now for the sake of the 300,000 people currently getting home care and for the millions more who will need it in years to come," he stressed.

A recent Care Quality Commission report suggested that 25% of all home care was failing to meet basic care standards, leaving people feeling "vulnerable and undervalued".


 

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