Sheffield elderly get ‘ten minutes of care’

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Agency care workers are spending as little as ten minutes on visits to frail old folk in Sheffield, according to an investigation by The Sunday Times.

The report revealed that cash-strapped councils across the country are asking agency care workers to spend just a few minutes with sick and vulnerable pensioners in their homes - giving them hardly enough time even to make the client a hot drink.

Sheffield Council admitted it comissioned ten-minute visits, but said they were used only where ‘appropriate’.

A spokesman said: “We pay for very few ten-minute care visits but this could be appropriate in some circumstances, such as for reminding someone to take medication.

“Carers and care providers can raise any concerns with us about the length of visit to someone they think needs more time.”

The UK Home Care Association said many of its members refuse to conduct such short visits because they were potentially unsafe and not economically viable.

Sheffield Council does not pay any extra money for travel. The spokesman said the home care providers themselves - who bid for the council contract - decide how to reimburse staff for travel time.