Alongside this response, Carers Trust submitted two separate responses focussing on:
The government says that the Carers Strategy will set out what more will be done to support carers.
The government has said that it will reflect the lives of carers now – their financial and health concerns, and ensure that carers are provided the support they need to live well and continue to care for their family member or friend. It is expected to be published towards the end of 2016.
Carers Trust would like to thank all our Network Partners, who through their experience and work in supporting carers throughout the UK, have helped shaped this response.
Our recommendations to the government
Our recommendations will ensure the government's vision become a reality. These are the 8 key steps the government should take to ensure the carers get the support and services they need:
- A nationally led, locally supported campaign to help identify and raise the profile of carers. This should promote carer friendly communities, employers, schools, colleges and universities, and should signpost carers to local services across England.
- New legal rights for all carers introduced under the Care Act and Children and Families Act need to be fully delivered in all areas. National and local government, together with the NHS, should prioritise investment in this area to improve the lives of carers.
- A major improvement in care coordination between health and social services is needed so that carers do not become burdened navigating the health and care systems on behalf of those they care for.
- Policies which identify carers should be a requirement for all NHS services, facilitated by new integrated health and social care IT systems.
- The weekly Carer's Allowance needs to be raised to reflect the contribution carers make. Charging carers for local services is an added hardship to carers. We believe it is against the spirit of the Care Act and should cease.
- Carers of people with dementia need to be identified as early as possible and provided with the information, advice and support they need to prepare for their caring journey in their own right.
- It should be a requirement for mental health services to sign up to and implement the Triangle of Care or equivalent programme to identify, involve and support carers across all their services.
- We urge the government to extend the Pupil Premium to all young carers. Young carers and young adult carers must be identified and supported to remain in and succeed in education, training, further and higher education, and work.
Ensuring integrated support systems for carers
Carers Trust is pleased that central government has recognised the need for a new Carers Strategy – one that can reflect the reality of being a carer. We hope that the vital role that carers play in the health and social care system will be recognised – with carers time being worth an estimated £132 billion per year.
However, the government must also recognise that caring and carers are not 'cost-free'.
Our recommendations above and the steps we believe the government should be taking, are aimed towards ensuring integrated support systems for carers – to make sure they are identified, coordination of work at a national and local level - to ensure the duties in the Care Act and Children and Families Act are implemented.
We also believe sufficient funding should be made available - to allow for better coordination of health and social care.
Our response was in part informed by our Care Act for carers: One year on report.
The report showed that whilst there are pockets of good practice and examples of some carers getting good support under the Care Act, there are still too many carers not getting the support they need and the need for investment and integration was vital.
To find out more, please email Carers Trust's policy team firstname.lastname@example.org