Carers Week: Our home carers must be given the support they deserve
Following his recent visit to local carers in advance of Carers Week (w/c 9th June), West Cornwall MP, Andrew George, has pledged his continued support to carers. He has joined forces with national charity Carers UK to highlight that thousands of carers who selflessly give care to their loved ones are still missing out on services that can provide vital help to them in their caring role.
Mr George regularly visits local Carers’ Forum meetings and meets constituents who care for the family members, friends or neighbours, and to offer support and to take up individual casework on their behalf. For example, he recently met Valerie and Leighton Peacock in Marazion to discuss with them some of the many challenges which carers face.
He has also met representatives of Carers UK in London to discuss how to make sure that some of the new provisions of the new Care Act (2014) can be implemented by health and social care managers at a local level as soon as possible.
Mr George said: “if voluntary carers downed tools, walked off the job and handed their responsibilities to the Government it would bankrupt the country. The problem is that on the one hand successive Governments are keen to either keep the chronically sick and disabled out of hospital or at least discharge them much earlier to their homes, but they don’t seem to be as keen to make sure that the people who care for them at home are given all the support they deserve.
“We have 6.5 million people in the UK caring for others. Many of our carers are struggling on a daily basis to cope with the financial and practical pressures of caring, or just need support to give them some regular respite. It’s a 24/7 commitment for many.
“I wholeheartedly support the Carers UK campaign and their call to stop cutting carers’ support; the need for urgent reform of carers’ benefits; and to ensure that health and social care services act to prevent carer ill-health and isolation.
“Our carers are unsung heroes. They should be given the support they deserve and which the Government at last says they should now get.”
Emily Holzhausen, Director of Policy, Carers UK said, “Caring for a loved one can take its toll on carers’ health, finances, ability to work and their relationships. Too often we hear from carers who have gone for years without support because they weren’t offered early advice that could’ve made all the difference.
“Under the new Care Act, local councils will have clearer duties to support carers and it is crucial that social care teams see this as an opportunity to identify and support carers early – to prevent carer breakdown which brings not just serious personal costs for families but potentially huge costs if social care services have to step in to provide full-time care.
“Our work through Carers Week also shows that we all have a responsibility to make sure that carers know what help is out these. Alongside the importance of frontline social workers and NHS staff supporting carers, everyone knows carers amongst their friends and colleagues – we should all be taking the time to ask them if they are getting the help they need.”