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NHS fails to support carers

13th October 2009

Campaigners have said that the health service is not fulfilling its promise to invest in support for people who care for others.


Information received as part of a poll of 130 trusts in England has revealed that only £10 million of the £50 million reserved for services for carers has been used this financial year.

The Princess Royal Trust for Carers and Crossroads Care said the results were worrying. There are 6 million carers in the UK, of whom 25% devote more than 50 hours a week to looking after a relative.

In 2008, the government said it would give £150 million to provide support services to carers.

However, instead of ensuring these funds were allocated, the government said trusts should reserve £50 million from this year's budget and £100 million from next year's budget from the yearly increase to health spending.

130 of the 152 trusts in England replied to the poll. The information received showed that 80% of the money had not been or was not due to be spent during this financial year.

Carole Cochrane, chief executive at The Princess Royal Trust for Carers, said: "We are alarmed and disappointed at these research findings. Once again, the recognition of carers and their significant contribution is not seen as a priority."

Liberal Democrat health spokesman Norman Lamb said: "The government should be ashamed of its failure to provide the help they promised to carers. Many people across the country are in desperate need of this support."

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Tuesday 13th October 2009 @ 14:45

I am the sole full time carer for my husband – who lives with Bi-polar disorder – and to hear reports that the NHS is holding back on spending a huge £40m earmarked for supporting carers has shocked and sickened me to the stomach.

I love my husband dearly, but working full time, caring for two small children and being his sole carer isn’t an easy life to live, and I’m sure every carer in the UK would agree with me that we need all the help we can get.

I’m 32 years old and didn’t expect my life to turn out this way – but it has – and I live each day at a time, hoping that the man I married five years ago will one day return. I’ve been to hell and back and struggled with my own depression along the way.

I’ve now found a personal outlet in the Expert Patients Programme Community Interest Company – which offers free self management to carers of those with long term health conditions. The course turned my life around and I’m now training to be a social worker – so the importance of NHS investment into caring is paramount in both my personal and professional life.

Carers are often the unsung heroes that take on the role due to their love of a family member or friend – easing NHS resources. To hold back on funds that have already been budgeted is despicable and I hope today’s reports lead to the release of the remaining pot of cash.

I see myself as one of the lucky carers in this world. I took control of my situation, and with the help of EPP CIC, continue to use the many self management techniques I leant every single day of my life. Yes my life could be very different, but now I am able to control my depression rather than letting it control me.

Carers are worth their weight in gold and I hope that not only will the remaining funds be put to good use, but further investment is allocated to carers in the future.

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Article Information

Title: NHS fails to support carers
Author: Jess Laurence
Article Id: 12898
Date Added: 13th Oct 2009


BBC News

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