A choice no-one should have to make

25 February 2014

Would you want to have to choose between going to the loo or having a hot drink?

Our campaigners descended on Parliament today with a strong message for MPs: no-one should have to make that choice.

Their aim – with the aid of a toilet and a giant mug – was to highlight the impossible choices facing disabled people who receive flying, 15‑minute care visits.

Like Violet, who receives 15-minute visits, our campaigners are outraged that MPs haven’t done more to stop these flying care visits. If you agree that these shamefully short visits shouldn't take place, email your MP now using our pre-written message.

Disabled campaigners from our care homes spoke to Anne McGuire, who co-chairs the All Party Parliamentary Disability Group, former home secretary David Blunkett, and former deputy prime minister Lord (John) Prescott, all of whom came along to support the event.

David Blunkett said he backed our campaign to end 15-minute visits and ensure disabled people receive the care and support they need. He also highlighted the difficulties care workers face in providing the support they want to in rushed time slots, something without even time to take off their coats.

‘Dignity for disabled people matters – but attempting to provide care in just 15 minutes or less denies them this dignity, and makes the job of the carer impossible.’ — Rt Hon David Blunkett MP

Research shows that most people believe 15-minute visits are unacceptable – and that it takes most of us at least 40 minutes to get up, wash, dress and eat breakfast in the morning. But information from councils last year showed that, with budgets under pressure, the number of flying visits is increasing.

All disabled people deserve to live with dignity but, if MPs don't act, we could see even more of these visits.

Parliament will finish debating the Care Bill in the next few weeks. Help us to keep up the pressure on 15-minute visits: write to your MP right now.


This is shameful!! All disabled people have different needs and therefore time spent by cares with them should reflect that!!

I think the government should, try for them selves to see what it
feels like to be in a wheelchair. With the general election in just over
a year and remember this they, expect disabled people to have a
vote well they can get stuffed.

Before working for Leonard Cheshire I was a homecare worker and feel very passionatly that tge system needs to change. How I dont know but what I do know is that a lot of people dont get enough care.

This is a ridiculous argument and has been advertised on this website completely inappropriately. I fear that the way this is being advertised then the general public who do not know any better will believe this rubbish! 15 minute calls are completely appropriate when a client only needs a 15 minute call - for instance for medication prompting only or for only emptying a commode. If a client requires more support than can be included in 15 minutes then they should be having a 30 minute call or longer! If clients are actually having to make this choice between a hot drink or going to the loo then that just highlights that that clients particular call needs to be longer, and if the care agency are not providing that support when it is clearly in that clients support plan then it is a practice issue with the agency that needs to be addressed. To completely generalise and try to abolish all 15 minute calls will severely impact on the already limited government funding available for clients. If a client needs a longer call then they need to be reviewed or this needs to be highlighted to the relevant social care team and not being taken to MP's. Don’t generalise! If someone only needs 15 minutes or less support then this is what they need, if we suddenly provide a minimum of 30 minutes when for instance someone only needs their medication prompted this is a complete waste of government funding that can be better spent on another client!

Many thanks for getting in contact, and for sharing your views.

While we accept that in some circumstances – such as where a client has specifically requested a 15-minute visit – short visits can be appropriate, those visits make up only a small proportion of the large, and rising, number of 15-minute visits delivered every day.

It simply is not appropriate for the number and proportion of 15-minute visits to be rising at the same time as demand for home care increases. Examples such as Violet’s demonstrate the harm that such short visits can do – and we make no apology for campaigning to reduce, and in most cases end, inappropriately short visits that can leave vulnerable people having to choose between having a drink and using the bathroom.

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