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“Flying care” visits are forcing vulnerable people to choose between food or being taken to the toilet, it has been revealed today.

A Freedom of Information Request reveals how nearly three-quarters of councils in England are providing just 15 minutes of home care for elderly and disabled people.

The number of councils providing the barest minimum level of care has increased from 69% to 74% in the last year. A move the Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt described as “unacceptable”.

Many experts agree 15 minutes is an insufficient amount of time to provide an acceptable level of care to vulnerable people.

Peter Jenkins, director of Leonard Cheshire Disability Campaigns, told the Metro: “There are still far too many of these “flying care” visits taking place.

“Fifteen minutes is simply not long enough to deliver quality personal care, and these visits can leave disabled and older people facing impossible choices like whether to go to the toilet or to have a cup of tea, because they simply don’t have time for both.”

A study released earlier this month revealed how 70,000 elderly people have been effectively abandoned by Britain’s care system.

The study found that gaps in the care system were leaving some of the most vulnerable people without any kind of help and support.

Simon Bottery, director of policy at Independent Age, said: “The Care Act is intended to ensure that older people receive better care and support but this new research highlights alarming gaps even in existing levels of care”.

He added: “Councils need to be acting now if the promises of the Care Act are to be fulfilled but national government also has to ensure that there is enough funding to properly implement it.

“In particular, we need to properly fund preventative services which delay the moment when older people need more intensive care and support.”

Caroline Abrahams, director of Age UK, said: “The situation is increasingly desperate for those older people who need help with everyday tasks and who are being denied this help, at a time when they are at their most vulnerable.

“Local authorities are dealing with huge budget cuts and it seems that every day there is another horror story of an older person failed by the system.

“This cannot continue and as we get ever closer to the General Election older people are entitled to expect that every political party will commit to solving the care crisis.”

The Care Quality Commission recently said Britain “does not care enough” about elderly and disabled people who are “crying out for help”.