Norman Lamb MP, the Minister of Care and Support, visited leading West Yorkshire care provider Czajka Care Group earlier this month to gain an up close view of how home care is provided and to establish where reforms could be made.
Mr Lamb also spoke to members of the Bradford Care Association to gain a first-hand understanding of how the system is working in Bradford.
Bradford Care Association is a group of independent care providers in West Yorkshire which aims to enhance the standard of care that people receive throughout the region, while offering support to care providers and giving the industry a voice.
The minister was joined by David Ward, MP for Bradford East, Councillor Jeanette Sunderland, members of the Bradford Care Association, the body lobbying the council for a fairer deal and Konrad Czajka, who is the organisation’s Chairman and Managing Director of Czajka Care Group. Konrad Czajka says: “Home carers are being given just 15 minutes to wash, cook and care for elderly residents and needy patients in the Bradford district and the real value of what can be achieved in 15 minutes, and whether that includes travel time, is hotly disputed. Payments by the Council are £12.50 an hour, a figure that has only risen by 50p since 2001 and we are struggling to retain care staff to carry out the work for such a low rate.”
Mr Lamb said: “The 15-minute visits are not good, only in very limited circumstances are they appropriate. Just planning visits for 15 minutes is not the right way to do it, it’s out of date. The care providers in Bradford want to meet with Bradford Council to see how they can work the system better and more effectively because it’s just a false economy how it’s run at the moment. I’m extremely concerned after visiting Bradford, the care providers I have met are very committed to try to do the right thing and I want to call for a fundamental review of health and care budgets in Bradford. The system is under enormous pressure, people are living longer and the council needs to engage with the care providers and the voluntary sector.”
The visit also included a meeting with Leo Walsh, who lives in an apartment at Czajka Care Group’s Fairmount Park development at Nab Wood, where he benefits from the company’s homecare support services. Leo, who suffers from a form of multiple sclerosis, has spent years fighting to have his homecare costs to be met by continuing care funding. Leo said: “I thoroughly enjoyed meeting the minister and taking to him about my battle to meet the costs of my homecare. Not everyone is prepared to fight their corner, and there are many elderly and vulnerable people who just accept what they are told and settle for the minimum amount of care on offer.”
Konrad Czajka adds: “We were delighted to welcome Norman Lamb to Bradford and introduce him to our team and our clients as well as demonstrating some of the forward thinking training initiatives we provide. Members of the Bradford Care Association had the opportunity to have their voices heard at the highest level and they talked to Mr Lamb about key issues facing the industry as well as looking at how we can all work together to ensure the very highest standards of care throughout the region and beyond.”