New Findings on Inadequate Homecare

Duncan White, Senior Campaigns Officer

The social care system is in danger of failing older and disabled people who are dependent on the vital support that homecare services deliver. This week’s Guardian survey* highlights serious problems with the way homecare services in England are funded by local councils.

UKHCA has repeatedly warned that older and disabled people have had to console themselves with receiving council-funded services of increasingly short homecare visits which struggle to meet their basic needs.

The survey clearly shows that the most important concerns of people who use homecare services and their families is that there must be enough time available for friendly, respectful and capable care workers to provide safe care in the home.

Homecare providers are very concerned that they are often prevented from delivering services with sufficient time or flexibility to meet the choices and preferences of service users, because of rigid and constraining contracts from local councils.

UKHCA has expressed concern over the discrepancy between the quality of services that councils wish to purchase and the price they are prepared to pay. It is time to look seriously at how we can create a better system for care, based on a realistic assessment of costs.

UKHCA is keen to work with local councils to make real improvements in the commissioning and delivery of homecare services as a matter of urgency. Councils must take responsibility for their commissioning. It is unthinkable that we go on supporting a failing system without any hope of improvement.

People who use homecare services are being let down because of poor funding and an approach to commissioning that cannot address their care needs adequately. This has to change.