Trades Union Condemns 15 Minute Care Slots

The local government trades union, UNISON, has condemned local councils who insist on providing 15-minute homecare visits for elderly and disabled people.

Research last year by the local Lib Dems found that Bury provided 200,000 home care visits of 15 minutes or less in a year. The research showed that on average 549,000 home care visits were provided – 37% were of 15 minutes or under and 4% 5 minutes or under.

Sign our Petition to end 15 Minute Care Visits in Bury here.

Find out more about UNISON’s Save Care Now campaign here.


A new report by UNISON reveals that 74% of councils are still commissioning 15-minute homeware visits. The union says that these councils are acting against National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) guidelines on homecare.

And UNISON believes that the lack of time homecare workers are given to provide care symbolises an “escalating crisis” in the homecare system.

A report “Suffering Alone At Home“, published by the union in January, contains a number of personal experiences of homecare workers, which help to illustrate the human cost of the cuts.

It also includes a new survey of 1,102 homecare workers. Of these:
– 58% have been given just 15 minutes or less to deliver personal care for homecare users;
– 57% have been given just 15 minutes or less to deliver personal care for somebody they have never met before
– 61% have not had enough time to provide a dignified level of personal care to a homecare user aged over 90 years;
– 74% believe they do not have enough time to provide dignified care for their homecare users.

UNISON gleaned its information about local authority operations under the Freedom of Information Act. It found no improvement in the attitude to 15-minute homecare visits in the past year, with councils ignoring the recent NICE guidelines – among these, that care workers should spend at least 30 minutes on home visits to older people in England.

Homecare workers speak out
“It makes me feel angry, ashamed and embarrassed…. Service users feel let down by workers constantly changing, coming at different times every day and being in a rush to do the job and move on because of their time constraints.”

“I hate not having enough time with dementia clients, because they tend to be very lonely.”

“Not being able to spend longer with clients who are terminally ill makes me feel as if I’m shortchanging them – and makes it seem as if I don’t care about them.”

“A lot of the elderly are lonely, and if we have to leave early you are taking away one of their few opportunities for some company.”

“It’s disrespectful. These people have lived through wars to become reliant on help. It feels like you’re abusing them or their rights.”

“In the past I have been the only person to see a service user on Christmas day and their birthday. It makes you feel very sad and you just try to do your best to make it a bit more special.”

“12 years experience didn’t prepare me for the feeling of failing a person.”

“Guilt, that is what you feel. I am not in this type of work just for a wage. I want to make a difference to people, more so to those who have no-one. I want to let them know there are people who care.”

Lib Dems call for fair funding for Mental Health Services

The Lib Dem’s shadow Health Spokesperson has called for fair funding for mental health services following research that showed that mental health trusts continue to be under significant pressure, including a rise in the number of unexpected deaths and suicide.

Norman Lamb MP

The figures from NHS England were unearthed after an FOI request from the Liberal Democrat Health spokesperson Norman Lamb, and cover serious incidents reported between 2012-2013 and 2014-2015.

Health spokesperson Norman Lamb said:

“The Clinical Commissioning groups should be equally focussed on mental health as well as physical health.

“At the moment whenever they feel under pressure to cut budgets, it’s the unprotected mental health services that get sliced.

“Year after year the problem occurs, and year after year the problem gets worse.

“This cannot continue any longer. People are literally dying as a result of the horrific under funding. People are losing their lives as a consequence of the institutional discrimination of mental health.

“The way that funding gets allocated to mental health always means that it loses out.”

Responding to the Google tax settlement, Susan Kramer, Liberal Democrat Treasury Spokesperson, said:

“This settlement shows once again that the Government is allowing one rule for the biggest companies and another for ordinary taxpayers.

“Last year HMRC didn’t even bother to answer the phone to taxpayers up to 55% of the time, yet they are more than willing to spend years negotiate sweetheart deals with giant multinationals.

“Any ordinary small business owner who failed to pay their taxes for 11 years wouldn’t be getting a cosy chat with HMRC Officials, they’d be getting a knock on the door from the bailiffs.   We need HMRC to begin prosecuting the largest companies as strongly as they do any other business operating in the UK.”

Help us keep Bury Fracking Free

In the ‘media quiet’ days before Christmas, the Government awarded an additional set of Fracking licenses to private companies. Threes of these license blocks cover the Bury area, including one which covers parts of Prestwich.

License areas 70, 80 and 81, which includes a part of Prestwich, Whitefield, Bury, Radcliffe, Ramsbottom, Tottington and and then right across towards  Bolton have been awarded to Hutton Energy Ltd for exploration.

Screenshot 2016-01-20 09.34.31

Fracking, or ‘Hydraulic Fracturing’ is where underground rock is fractured by the high pressure injection of ‘fracking fluid’ to create cracks underground where natural gas can be released.

Residents will be aware of campaigners in many other parts of the country (e.g. in Lancashire) being very opposed to fracking sites near them.

Many of the areas covered by the Fracking License in our Green Belt – land which has been left as green and recreational land
Many of the areas covered are in former mining areas with old mining shafts and diggings, and areas have suffered from subsidence in the past.

Fracking is a controversial subject – there is more information about the environmental impact that Fracking can have at the Greenpeace website here.

You can help us campaign to Bury Fracking Free by signing our online petition here.

Tim Farron challenges Government’s increasingly right wing agenda

Dangerous proposals by the Government which threaten individual freedoms risk exacerbating racial and religious tensions, Tim Farron has warned.

By linking the practices of ordinary British Muslims with radicalisation the Prime Minister risks alienating large sections of our society.

Leader of the Liberal Democrats Tim Farron said:

“Talk of banning veils and the deportation of women who struggle with English are worrying ideas from a government pushing an increasingly right wing agenda.


“These are hugely worrying times for British values. Of course we need to seriously tackle home grown extremism but isolating vulnerable groups is not the way forward.

“With Islamophobia on the rise, now is the time for an open and serious inter-faith dialogue not headline grabbing policies which do nothing but appeal to the right wing of the Tory base.

“Liberal Democrats will always support an open minded, tolerant United Kingdom which does not cow tow to the politics of fear.”

Tacking Illegal Parking outside Schools

The Lib Dem team on Council have asked the Council if it will consider using the ‘Camera Car’ currently used to enforce bus lanes, to tackle some of the worst illegal parking outside some of our schools.

Lib Dem councillor Mary D’Albert asked the Council to consider the use of the camera car outside of schools, a practice that happens in many other local authorities, including next door in Manchester.

The Council stated that “The CCTV car is currently utilised during peak and off peak periods to enforce bus lanes”

It went not to say that:
“At some point in the future we may look at investing in fixed CCTV equipment to enforce bus lanes. This would then free up the vehicle to carry out enforcement outside schools. In order to carry out this type of enforcement we will need to apply for a new approved device status for the vehicle from DfT. The current approval would not cover the variation in enforcement.”


Recently Bury Council reviewed the bus lanes going into and out of Bury Town Centre, and has agreed to review bus lane in the south of the Borough. The result of the review so far has been to completely suspect the Rochdale Road bus lane (the Heap Bridge motorway junction to the Town Centre).

Although it is important to make sure that drivers do not abuse bus lanes that are still in force, we believe that there should be some capacity to do this, given the significant problems that there are around some of our schools.

Norman Lamb: Government health proposals ‘morally wrong and economically stupid’.

Mental Health proposals fall massively short – Norman Lamb

Commenting on today’s announcement on mental health funding, the Liberal Democrats health spokesperson and former minister for Mental Health, Norman Lamb said:

“I will always welcome extra investment in mental health care. However, on the face of it, the proposals fall massively short of the vision we published in 2014. We said then that the objective for 2020 should be comprehensive maximum waiting time standards in mental health so that there is equality of access between physical and mental health. There’s nothing today which meets that vision.

“It will leave many people with mental ill health still with no right to access treatment on a timely basis. It will leave a disparity between physical health and mental health at the heart of our NHS. That is morally wrong and economically stupid.


“My fear is that the extra investment announced may be, in part, smoke and mirrors. David Cameron must be clear, is this all additional to the £1.25bn announced in the budget in March for children and young people’s mental health – which the Liberal Democrats secured? Is it additional to the £600m announced in the Spending Review?

“If the Prime Minister is being genuine about his desire to help, he must confirm what accounts for new investment. We need absolute clarity.

“Every step to support access to treatment and support is always welcome, but we must recognise that there is much more to be done.”

Norman Lamb to call for a commission into the health and social care crisis

Liberal Democrat Health Spokesperson Norman Lamb will today (Wednesday) launch proposals for an unprecedented cross party commission into health and social care.

Norman Lamb, who has received the backing from Conservative and Labour former Health Secretaries Stephen Dorrell and Alan Milburn, believes that only a full non-partisan commission will properly deal with the crisis in health and social care.

They have been joined in this call by NHS survival – a group of 8,000 doctors, patients and and members of the public committed to ensuring the survival of the health service.
The former care minister believes the commission would be a ‘Beveridge Report’ for the 21st Century, and be the first of its kind since the creation of the NHS and welfare state. Its aim is to engage with the public, staff in the NHS and care services and civic society on the massive challenge the NHS and care services face.

To mark his call for the commission Norman Lamb will use a 10 minute rule bill in Parliament, and will call for an investigation into the crisis being faced by the health and social care sectors.
The NHS funding gap is expected to be £30bn

NHS and Foundation Trusts are facing a projected £2.2bn deficit

The Health Foundation has estimated that there will be a £6bn funding gap in Social Care by 2020

Norman Lamb said: “The NHS and social care face an existential crisis. Demand for services continues to rise year on year but funding is failing to keep up. The position in social care is perhaps even more serious.

“Growing pressures on services are so severe that all parties must come together to fundamentally re-think how we can guarantee the future of the NHS and social care services.

“The Government cannot avoid this issue any longer. Establishing this commission will show they are serious about protecting these vital public services.”

200,000 Bury Home Care Visits less than 15 minutes

Investigations by Lib Dem councillors in Bury have revealed that over 200,000 of Bury’s home care visits in the last year were of a duration of 15 minutes or less.

Lib Dem Councillor Tim Pickstone asked at the last Council meeting about the number and proportion of visits that were less than 15 minutes, and less than 5 minutes in the last year.

On average 549,000 home care visits were provided – 37% were of 15 minutes or under and 4% 5 minutes or under.

Screenshot 2016-01-06 10.44.35

Less than a year ago the Labour Party made a pledge to help end 15 minute care visits, yet Bury’s Labour-run Council continues the practice on a massive scale.

Care charities and the public sector Trades Union UNISON have condemned care visits of less than 15 minutes and are campaigning for their end in their ‘Save Care Now’ campaign.

Find out more about UNISON’s Save Care Now campaign here.
Find out more about charity Lennard Cheshire’s campaign to end 15 minute care visits here.