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Fifteen-minute care visits can be right for some users

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I read with interest LGC’s coverage of the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence criticising short home care visits in its guidance.

In Hertfordshire, we offer every person who receives support at home a personal budget. This means they have a choice over how, when and by whom their care is delivered. Some people tell us that they really value 15-minute, pop-in calls and they therefore exercise their choice to have these.

However, we do agree with NICE that 15-minute calls for personal care tasks or for people with dementia are not appropriate and we work with people to design care packages that meet their needs with sensitivity.

The wider care worker recruitment challenge is one of the biggest that we face. We estimate that we need to recruit 2,000 extra carers year-on-year to meet increased demand for our adult social care services. It’s a huge ask, and one that is exacerbated by very low rates of unemployment locally, stories of low pay, poor training, high staff turnover and scandals within the home care industry.

In Hertfordshire we’ve launched a recruitment campaign called ‘Good Care Hertfordshire’ to showcase the range of rewarding careers in care (www.hertsgoodcare.com).

At the heart of this campaign is the Hertfordshire Care Quality Standard, which is written into the contracts of all lead home care providers. This standard sets out a package of support to give care workers and, ultimately, the people for whom they care a better deal. It includes competitive pay, travel expenses, holiday pay, improved access to training and development for care workers. It also includes the requirement to treat service-users with dignity, respect and kindness.

By growing a compassionate and skilled workforce, working closely with colleagues in health and providing people with personal budgets and choice over how their care is provided, we can significantly improve the quality and continuity of support on offer for those people that need it.

Colette Wyatt-Lowe (Con), Hertfordshire CC

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