They’ve listened to you — it’s finally time to end flying care visits

15 May 2014

Alice Mitchell-Pyeby Alice Mitchell-Pye

Thank you for supporting our campaign to end 15-minute care visits — we have great news!

This morning Ed Miliband announced that Labour is committed to ending flying 15-minute care visits. We are delighted the Labour Party have listened to us about the dreadful impact of flying visits on disabled people and those supporting them, and have now committed to take action on this issue.

Thousands of our supporters have been saying for months that this needs to change — if you helped our campaign to succeed, please give yourself a slap on the back.

The announcement follows Baroness Kingsmill’s review of working conditions for care workers. I attended the review launch this morning and I want to tell you a bit about it because I’m really excited about what I heard.

At Leonard Cheshire we’re delighted to see poor working conditions for care workers finally being given the attention they deserve — we hope this report is the beginning of some real action.

The passion, commitment and enthusiasm of the more than 7,000 care workers who work with disabled people in our services continually inspires us. We think they, and the 1.5 million other care workers across the country, deserve much greater recognition for the incredible work they do.

Most of all we think care workers deserve a fairer deal — fair pay and working conditions, and the right training and support for the difficult work they do. That means not only providers taking action, but also the councils that buy these services. It was really worrying to hear earlier this year that so few councils are paying enough in their contracts to pay staff the minimum wage. That must change.

At one time or another almost all of us will call on the dedication, skill and compassion of a care worker when we are most in need of care and support — as we get older or after an accident or illness. We must make sure that care is fair for them and the people they support.

This morning we heard from Mary (not her real name) who has been a care worker for 25 years. Before coming to talk to us at 8am, Mary had already visited two people — one of them an 88-year-old woman with dementia. Mary had only 30 minutes to help her get up, washed, dressed, take her medication and eat her breakfast.

Mary told us she always makes sure she arrives early for these visits so she can help this lady do all these things at her own pace and with the dignity she deserves. This is Mary’s own time — she goes above and beyond like this for no extra pay and usually very little recognition.

We will keep fighting to end the scandal of 15-minute care visits. Today's announcement is only a step along the way, but it’s a big one. We’re waiting later this month for the government to release their guidance on 15-minute visits. That should be another big step towards fair care for everyone.

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Alice Mitchell-Pye is a policy and campaigns officer at Leonard Cheshire Disability. She tweets as @alice_pye.

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