The Better Care Fund is a major new project which aims to join up local health and social care services.

Older carers couple holding hands

One of the frustrations unpaid carers commonly raise with us is how they feel pushed between one place and another by their local health and social care services.

Carers would suffer less hassle and stress if services like GPs, hospitals, local councils, and social care services were better joined-up. These services need to work towards the united goal of providing the best possible support for carers.

Plans to support carers

By pooling together £5.3bn of local health and social care spending into one budget the Fund aims to encourage local decision-makers to think about they can get health and social care services to work together.

Our priority has been to ensure that as plans for the Fund are developed, those plans demonstrate clearly how the money will be used to support carers.

Unfortunately, our initial research has left us concerned that, without reform, the Better Care Fund will fail to deliver in the interest of carers.

We analysed 45 plans developed by Health and Wellbeing Boards for how they will spend the money allocated to them by the Fund.

Download our full report: The Better Care Fund: Better Care for Carers? (PDF, 747KB)

Our report raised serious concerns:

  • Just 1 in 4 plans gave specific details on how they will provided carer-specific support
  • Carers will only receive an average of £24 each to help them pay for a break from their caring responsibilities
  • Only 9 plans provided details on how they will use the Fund to support carers when the person they care for is discharged from hospital. 

Our recommendations

To make sure the wellbeing of carers is placed at the heart of their plans, we've made a number of recommendations to Health and Wellbeing Boards including:

  • Money for carer breaks should be ring-fenced to make sure it is actually used for that purpose.
  • Future Better Care Fund plans must require Health and Wellbeing Boards to be more specific about what support they will provide to carers.
  • Health and Wellbeing Boards must detail in subsequent plans how they will give support for carers after the person they care for is discharged from hospital. 
  • To make sure the issues affecting carers are properly tackled by the Fund, Health and Wellbeing Boards must do more to include carers in the development of their plans.