Scandal as carers forced to give just 15 minutes to home visits

Care visit

​Country's largest care quango under fire 

16th October 2017 by Robert Armour 0 Comments

Scotland’s biggest council-run care charity is under fire after it was revealed it allocates just 15 minutes to each visit.

Staff working for Cordia, an arms-length external organisation (Aleo) of Glasgow Council, say vulnerable people are not getting the required care they need because of tight restrictions on the amount of time allocated to each visit.

They say they cannot complete their allocated tasks within the 15 minute slot, which includes travel to and from different homes.

An agreement with trade union Unison decreed that 15 minute appointments could be used only for medication prompts when the client is near the previous appointment.

But staff say this is being ignored.

Figures published in the Evening Times show that between April and August this year, around 417,000 home care visits were 15 minutes or less – 22% of the total.

For 70,300 occasions (3.7% of the time), staff had one task to do for the client not involving medication - making them a meal or helping them get dressed for example. 

Around 180,000 times carers had to check medication had been taken and do another task, while 83,000 times two tasks were required to be done – neither of which involved medication.

One Cordia staff member said: "I have worked for 14 years as a home carer and this is just the worst it’s ever been.

“Clients are not getting the care they deserve and need because we are being told we only have 15 minutes to see them.

“It’s putting cash before care.”

Another carer described her regular tasks during a 15 minute appointment.

She said: “I have to do a stoma bag, then a breakfast, wash her dishes and take her bin out and then I have to travel 10-11 minutes to the next person.

“It’s beyond a joke. There is no way people can do it and there is no travelling time.

“The service users are getting it, it’s just an absolute outrage.”

A spokeswoman for Unison’s Glasgow branch said: “Unison believes this is unacceptable from both a care perspective and workload capacity aspect.

“Some of the most vulnerable people in Glasgow are not getting the time they have been assessed as requiring by the social work fieldworker.

“No service user has a 15 minute visit in their care plan.

Older people in our city deserve better - Unison spokesperson

“This affects quality of care. Older people in our city deserve better.

“Home care workers are being given unrealistic work schedules, are being overworked and many feel bullied by Cordia management.

“Cordia’s cack-handed approach in recent years to reforming working arrangements and shift patterns has not helped.

“The solution of course is to employ more home carers and revisit the changes to working arrangements.”

A Cordia spokesman said: “Our home carers undertake all tasks required during each visit.

“In the event a service user needs more care during a visit, this is provided no matter how long it takes.

“The care package of every service user is reviewed at least annually, but they or their family can request a change to their plan at any time.”