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Rushed Care Visits Leave Thousands of Vulnerable Patients in Need

By Principal Lawyer, Court of Protection

Rushed home care visits to elderly and vulnerable patients in the North West raises serious concerns about local authorities flouting the Care Act.

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At the start of 2016 a Unison survey found that three quarters of councils are commissioning 15 minute home care visits.

Nine months on, a scathing Granada Reports investigation has revealed the ongoing reality of limited care that many local authorities continue to impose on elderly and vulnerable people.

It was only two years ago that Health Secretary, Jeremy Hunt, stated that these rushed 15 minute visits were “completely unacceptable”.

The Unison carried out the survey in light of the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) guidance suggesting said that they should be at least 30 minutes long.

It is simply unacceptable that thousands of housebound elderly and disabled people in need of care are being left to rely on visits from carers who stay for just 15 minutes or less.

Many vulnerable people are entirely dependent on these carer visits, relying on them for their meals, medication and personal care as well as human interaction; for some it might be the only person they see all day.

It is hard to see how squeezing essential care into 15 minutes complies with the ‘principle of wellbeing’ set out in the Care Act or how such limited care prioritises the needs and wishes of those people local authorities are obliged to look after.

These ‘flying visits’ are hardly the approach called for by the 2014 Care Act which aims to give vulnerable people greater dignity, independence and a greater say in how their care needs are met.

 

What Can You do if You or a Loved One Are Not Receiving Adequate Care?

If you feel that your care needs are not being met, you have a right to challenge care decisions. You are entitled to a copy of your care assessment, your care plan and a written statement of your eligible care needs.

If you struggle to tackle things yourself and have no family member or carer to help you, your local authority must ensure an independent advocate is able to help you. You can also seek legal advice from a disability rights solicitor if you still believe the local authority’s decision is wrong.

For more information, see my previous blog: Safeguarding Vulnerable People in Care: Who is Responsible?

Richard Copson is a principal lawyer in Slater and Gordon’s court of protection team, specialising in mental capacity law, disability rights and human rights law.

For a consultation with a human rights solicitor, call Slater and Gordon Lawyers 24/7 on freephone 0800 916 9046 or contact us online and we’ll be happy to help you.

 

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