Department of Health and Social Care
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Care Minister announces proposals to deal with rushed care visits

Tougher checks may be introduced to help clamp down on rushed home care visits Care and Support Minister Norman Lamb announced today. 

Speaking at the National Children and Adult Services conference, he will say that from next April the Care Quality Commission is proposing to look at whether home care visits are long enough to respond to people’s needs. They will also consider looking at how staff working conditions might be impacting on care.

To assess this, the CQC are considering looking at:

  • whether the service is able to respond to people’s needs in the allocated time
  • whether the care is delivered with compassion, dignity and respect
  • how many staff have zero hour contracts
  • the levels of staff turnover

Recent media coverage has highlighted the lack of time allotted to care for people who are older or who have a disability in their homes. It means many are left waiting to get into or out of bed, waiting to eat or drink or left wanting basic human contact. This doesn’t just have an effect on those receiving care but places huge pressure on staff, who often have to work over their hours for below the minimum wage to make sure people get basic levels of support they need.

Care and Support Minister Norman Lamb said:

The current approach to home care is not fair on those who need support, it’s not fair on care workers and it is stripping away the human element of caring.

Fifteen minutes is not enough time to help people who are older or who have a disability to do everyday things like wash, dress and get out of bed. Some do not even get the chance to have a conversation with their home care worker, who may be the only person they see that day.

These tougher checks would ask specific questions about the amount of time allocated for visits and whether staff are suitably supported to do this. This is particularly important because these are services delivered in private, behind closed doors. I want to build a fairer society, and that means providing better care in care homes, and in people’s own homes.

The CQC would use this information to drive its regulatory activity, so it knows when, where and what to inspect and is alerted quickly to the risk of poor quality care in home care settings.

Background information

  1. For media enquiries, please contact the press office on 0207 210 5447.

  2. From April next year, CQC will begin to focus much more keenly on leadership and culture in their regulatory approach for adult social care, and will begin to address and report against the five key questions - Is this service:

  • safe
  • effective
  • caring
  • responsive
  • well led
  1. CQC will formally consult on changes to its adult social care approach in spring 2014 and throughout the spring and summer will widely test the new model, including ratings.

  2. The new approach will be fully rolled out from October 2014 and CQC anticipate that every adult social care service will have been rated at least once by the end of March 2016.

  3. CQC inspects and regulates the quality of care provided, and we will make judgements on that basis using our five key questions - including whether the care is responsive to people’s needs.

  4. The Government has amended the Care Bill to create an explicit requirement for local authorities to consider people’s wellbeing when commissioning services.

  5. The Department of Health will work with the Association of Directors of Adult Social Services (ADASS) to develop a set of ‘commissioning standards’ to support and drive improvement across the country.

  6. The government has allocated significant additional funding to local authorities, including a transfer from the NHS worth £1.1 billion a year by 2014/15, to be spent on social care with a health benefit. Further to that, in 2015/16 it is creating a £3.8 billion pooled budget for health and social care in 2015/16 to help create joined up services that fit around people’s lives and make the best use of resources.

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