UKHCA Policy Director Colin Angel has given an interview on how government spending cuts in home care to BBC Radio 4’s ‘Outsourced’ programme.  In the interview he was able to make valuable points on behalf of the home care sector.

The programme was broadcast on Monday 15th January. It’s available on BBC iPlayer: for a further six days, if you would like to listen.

The home care section starts from 22 minutes and some of the main points Colin makes are as follows (slightly paraphrased):

“From information we can analyse, [outsourced] home care is half the price of local authority in-house services (the interviewer described this as “startling”). 

“We are definitely seeing a very strong downward pressure on the price paid for care. That will then have a knock-on effect on the terms and conditions of the workforce.” 

“Local authorities need to drive their costs down and this has a direct impact on the workforce and the experience of people who use services.”  “Care workers and their employers are extremely worried by shorter visits. We’re seeing that more than 3/4 of calls in England are being commissioned as less than 30 minute visits. In a survey last year we detected a significant proportion of employers were worried about the ability to deliver services with dignity and sometimes, safety.” 

Costs are being pushed as low as they can go, and a lot of home care providers would say they are being pushed too far.”  “But it’s a political question about what value society – national and local government – places on the care of vulnerable and disabled people.”

The programme concludes that outsourcing highlights the need to balance political priorities and has both good and bad points – there is a balance of cost and benefit which needs to be considered, and we should understand the consequences, and high quality care should always be the paramount concern.

Home Care Direct has heard from many of you that short calls and not knowing who is coming to see you are some of the major areas of concern with regards to traditional agency care.  Home Care Direct understand the pressures put on care staff and providers to keep costs as low as possible however by using Home Care Direct services and having staff teams built up of personal assistants chosen by you and your rota designed around your likes and dislikes we have found that this combats a lot of these problems.

We’d love to hear from you if you would like to share your stories and experiences, please contact us.