PART of a £4m windfall will be used to make sure personal care visits for the elderly and frail in Oxfordshire will be longer than 15 minutes.

Oxfordshire County Council has said it will invest £800,000 in adult social care to put an end to the practice which has been criticised.

Last year the practice of care visits lasting 15 minutes or less was criticised by Oxford East MP Andrew Smith, who said it was “worrying”.

Ian Hudspeth, the leader of the county council, said: “Fifteen- minute visits have always been part of a detailed care package but obviously to give that additional time it means that the carer and the cared for can develop a relationship.

“It is good for the carers as well because they have that little bit of extra time so it is a good overall package.”

The type and length of home visits – to help with cleaning, washing, dressing and cooking — are chosen by the individual or mental health provider Oxford Health.

County council figures show 1,626 people are getting home care in Oxfordshire and 2,100 visits are made for personal care.

The visits, which will be extended to 30 minutes, will be phased in from the next financial year.

Mr Smith said: “I am very pleased the concerns are being listened to. It is not possible to care for someone in 15 minutes.”

The rest of the £4m, which comes from a larger than expected Government grant and from business rates forecasts being higher than anticipated, will be spent on highway maintenance and services for adults with learning disabilities.