‘Indignity’ of 15-minute care visits highlighted in new BBC Radio 4 play

A new radio play shines a light on the “scandal” of care workers having to limit visits to elderly people to 15 minutes, says a leading union.

Unison said the play, being broadcast on BBC Radio 4 every day this week, highlights its campaign to end the “indignity” suffered by thousands of elderly people during 15-minute homecare visits.

Flying Visits is loosely based on the experiences of care worker Caroline Firmin who, like many care workers across the UK, was being allocated a quarter of an hour to look after each of the elderly and vulnerable people on her patch.

Caroline described the impossibility of trying to deliver a basic standard of care in such a short space of time, leading to Southwark Council in London abolishing 15-minute visits and signing up to Unison’s ethical care charter.

The union said that despite the difficulties of caring for people with complex needs in such a short time period, 15-minute visits are still being commissioned by around a fifth of councils in England and Wales.

Unison national officer Matt Egan said: “This drama shines a light on a national scandal that must end.

“Care workers and the people they look after are being pushed to breaking point as dangerously short care visits have become the new norm.

“The elderly and those dedicated to caring for them are being failed by a government that’s slashed councils’ care budgets, requiring workers to do more and more in less and less time.

“This not only puts huge stress on employees, it also denies dignity to the vulnerable people they’re trying to help.

“In his first speech on the steps of Downing Street, the new Prime Minister pledged to fix social care. He must act now to save a system that’s creaking at the seams.”

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