United Kingdom Homecare Association
The professional association for homecare providers

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UKHCA Media Release

Councils still using 15 minutes for personal care - 29/01/2016

UKHCA welcomes Unison’s report ‘Suffering alone at home’ released today which highlights the acute lack of time in the homecare system.

Unison found that 74% of councils in England are still commissioning homecare visits of 15 minutes or fewer and these are still being used for personal care.

UKHCA's Policy Director, Colin Angel, commented:

“We believe that the use of short visits is a result of the underfunding of care by government and councils. We fear that the use of very short visits will increase, as funding is set to deteriorate.

“Our concern is that assistance with washing, dressing, using the toilet or meal preparation is being crammed into insufficient time. The risks are that not all the necessary care can be delivered in the time available, older and disabled people feel that their care is rushed and undignified, and careworkers find their work unsatisfying and can't provide the care they desperately want to deliver."

Unison’s findings support UKHCA’s research in 2012 which found that in England 10% of visits were 15 minutes or fewer and 73% of visits were 30 minutes or fewer.

NICE homecare guidance published in 2015 states that homecare visits shorter than half an hour should be made only if they do not compromise dignity or safety and:

  • the home care worker is known to the person, and
  • the visit is part of a wider package of support, and
  • the visit allows enough time to complete specific, time limited tasks or to check if someone is safe and well.


Notes for Editors

  1. Unison report “Suffering alone at home”, January 2016:
  2. UKHCA research “Care is not a Commodity - UKHCA Commissioning Survey 2012”, July 2015:
  3. NICE Home Care Guideline, September 2015: Bridget Warr chaired the Guideline group that produced the NICE Guideline. (Bridget is UKHCA Chief Executive.) Infographic illustrating the NICE guidance (uploaded 29 January 2016):
  4. United Kingdom Homecare Association (UKHCA) is the professional association for more than 2,200 domiciliary care providers in Great Britain and Northern Ireland.
  5. UKHCA’s mission, as a member-led professional association, is to promote high quality, sustainable care services so that people can continue to live at home and in their local community. We do this by campaigning, and through leadership and support to social care providers.
  6. UKHCA has a vetting procedure for its members, all of whom agree to abide by the Association’s Code of Practice, which can be found at
  7. UKHCA represents 33% of independent and voluntary sector providers in the UK, and estimates that its member organisations employ over 119,000 homecare workers, who deliver over 2.79 million hours of care per week to around 166,000 service users, valued at £1.62 billion per annum.
  8. Homecare encompasses provision of personal care, to people in their own homes. For many, homecare is the alternative of choice for people who would otherwise need to move into residential accommodation.
  9. The majority of homecare is funded by the state (usually by local council social services departments, Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs), or Health and Social Care Trusts in Northern Ireland). However, homecare services are largely delivered by independent and voluntary sector providers working under contracts with the statutory sector.
  10. Regularly updated statistical information about homecare services in all four UK administrations is available from "An Overview of the UK Domiciliary Care Sector" at
  11. A high resolution royalty-free image of Colin Angel, Policy and Campaigns Director, quoted in this release, is available
  12. Interviewees from UKHCA for broadcast media are available on request.
  13. For further information please contact:

Colin Angel, Policy and Campaigns Director
United Kingdom Homecare Association Ltd
Sutton Business Centre, Restmor Way, Wallington, SM6 7AH

Telephone: 020 8661 8188
Mobile: 07920 788993

Registered in England, No. 3083104.

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