Carers to be monitored by Cambridgeshire councils

Carers will be electronically monitored in Cambridgeshire to prevent appointments being missed or cut short.

The county council and Peterborough City Council are introducing a system where contracted agency carers would be required clock in and out.

The technology is intended to ensure care is "delivered as planned".

But Unison, which represents some carers, said monitoring could restrict "discretionary time" with clients.

A spokeswoman for the union said: "Most feedback we get about this kind of thing suggests that carers don't actually get enough discretionary time to be with the people who really need their help.

"This would put even greater pressure on their time."

Missed visits

Peterborough City Council said the electronic monitoring would "provide accurate information on whether homecare is delivered" and "immediately highlight and evidence if calls are not delivered or are being cut short".

A spokesman said the government-recommended move would simplify invoicing, ensure care was "delivered as planned" and help ensure the safety of care workers.

Both councils said agencies would have to implement their own monitoring system as part of their contracts.

"Some systems require care workers to phone a freephone number when they arrive and when they leave a homecare visit," a city council spokesman said.

"This will then log that the visit has happened, the duration of the visit and which worker has delivered the care. Some use mobile technology instead."

Consumer organisation Which? recently asked 40 family carers to keep a diary of their experiences, including respite care provided by agency staff.

It documented instances of poor care, missed visits and a lack of continuity.

It concluded: "Fifteen-minute care visits must not become a 'one size fits all' approach to home care and local authorities should do more to commission person-centred services."

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