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During Carers Week, employers and HM Government commit to new working group to deliver a 'triple win' for families, employers and the economy.

Call for urgent action on care crisis as shocking new Carers Week research shows two in five carers are sacrificing their own health by putting off medical treatment to care.

On 23 May a group of 11 carer volunteers attended a conference organised by the Royal College of GPs. The main aim of the conference was to discuss the critical role that GPs and primary care teams can play in supporting carers and those they care for.

Carers UK and Nutricia have teamed up to provide Nutricia nurses with a new resource aimed at getting advice to relatives who are caring for those loved ones.

The Government has announced in the Queen's Speech, which sets out the parliamentary programme for the next year, that a draft Care and Support Bill will be published - but that full legislation would be postponed until the next parliamentary session.

Carers UK has joined an unprecedented group of leaders from local government, NHS and social care services, businesses and unions in an open letter calling on the Prime Minister to take urgent action to tackle a growing crisis in care for older and disabled people.


Carers UK calls for care growth strategy as new figures show cost of families forced to give up work to care reaches £1.3bn

Carers UK has today joined with business leaders to call for a new strategy to stimulate growth in services to support older and disabled people and deliver a ‘triple win’ for families, employers and the economy.

Couples with children who are receiving Working Tax Credit where one partner is receiving Carer’s Allowance are at risk of losing their full tax credits unless they contact the Tax Credit Office by 6th April.

From the 6th of April the Government is increasing the number of hours a couple with children has to work in order to receive Working Tax Credit (lone parents are not affected).

Instead of needing to work for 16 hours or more a week couples with children will have to work 24 hours a week or more. If they are unable to find the extra hours they will lose their entitlement to Working Tax Credit.

However, following campaigning from Carers UK and other groups including the Low Incomes Tax Reform Group and USDAW the union, the Government has announced that couples including someone on Carer’s Allowance will be exempt from this increase from 16 to 24 hours.

This means that a couple with at least one dependent child and where one partner is entitled to Carer’s Allowance, will continue to be able to receive Working Tax Credit if one parent is working for at least 16 hours a week. This includes people with an ‘underlying entitlement’ to Carer’s Allowance - where you are entitled to the benefit but it is not being paid to you because you receive other benefits which are seen to ‘overlap’ with Carer’s Allowance.

The Tax Credits Office should already know that someone in your household is receiving Carer’s Allowance if you informed them of this when you claimed Working Tax Credit. However if you are not sure, and particularly if you have started to receive Carer’s Allowance since you claimed Working Tax Credit, you should contact the Tax Credit Office to confirm you are entitled to Carer’s Allowance.

To contact the Tax Credit Office, you can call 0345 300 3900, email via www.hmrc.gov.uk/contactus/email.htm or write to:

Tax Credit Office
Preston

PR1 4AT

You should provide your full name, date of birth, National Insurance Number and email address (if you have one) and inform them that you fulfil one of these exceptions.

New entitlement to childcare costs

As well as protecting carers from this change, the Government has announced that couples receiving Working Tax Credit which include someone receiving Carer’s Allowance will now be able to claim extra tax credits for childcare if they pay for registered/approved childcare.

Again, if this applies to you, you should inform the Tax Credits Office to ensure you receive the extra amount. You can do this from 6th April, but should do it by 6th May 2012.

For more information on the Government’s other changes to the benefits system, read our Welfare Reform Frequently Asked Questions for further details about tax credits, you can visit the HM Revenue & Customs website

Carers UK and the Social Care Institute for Excellence (SCIE) are launching a new reablement briefing at the Southwark Resource Centre today.

Following a joint campaign with other family charities and unions, Carers UK has welcomed a Government decision to exempt carers from changes to Working Tax Credit which could have resulted in the loss of almost £4,000 a year in tax credits.

In a new report published today, Carers UK has called for a technological transformation to support families caring for ill, frail and disabled loved ones.

Around 1,000 older and disabled people, carers and people with long-term conditions from across the country will today travel to Parliament to give MPs a clear message: act now to end the care crisis.

Freedom of Information Act request attracts over 75 per cent response

The interim findings of a new campaign, which suggest that one in five local authorities is failing in its equality duty to black and minority ethnic (BME) communities when planning cuts, will be launched at the House of Commons on Monday 5 March 2012.

Malnutrition and caring: The hidden cost for families, a report from Carers UK in conjunction with Nutricia, has won support from parliamentarians and nutrition professionals.

The report, launched in February, highlights that too many families are struggling to cope with the lack of nutrition advice and support currently available, and are sometimes left to face the serious consequences of malnutrition.

Malnutrition, however, is largely preventable and Carers UK is calling for action to improve nutritional support offered to carers and the people they care for. Support for Carers UK’s calls for action has come from the chief executives of the British Dietetic Association and the British Association for Parenteral and Enteral Nutrition, Baroness Greengross and Care Services Minister Paul Burstow MP.

Baroness Greengross OBE, Chief Executive of ILC-UK and EHRC Commissioner, said: "My work on the Equality and Human Rights Commission's Home Care Inquiry, published in November, laid down a challenge to social care services. Whilst providers cope with rapidly growing demand and a challenging financial climate, they must ensure that care services always meet people's basic human rights. Access to nutrition and hydration are fundamental rights, yet too many older and disabled people and their families are left without the support they need to meet basic nutritional needs.

I welcome the report published by Carers UK which makes it clear that one of the key routes to tackling malnutrition is ensuring that carers and families are given the advice, information and tools they need, and are not left to struggle alone. We urgently need action at a national level to ensure we have a coherent strategy to tackle malnutrition and dehydration amongst older and disabled people."

Andy Burman, Chief Executive of The British Dietetic Association, said: “Having enough to eat and drink is one of the most basic human needs, yet today in the UK millions people are living in their own homes are going hungry.  For many, the perception of malnutrition is limited to third world countries when the sad truth tells a very different story.  In 2012, malnutrition is a major issue on our very own doorstep.

“The British Dietetic Association has been campaigning hard to highlight the horrendous levels of malnutrition in older people living in their own homes, through our Mind the Hunger Gap campaign.  We are proud to support this latest Carers UK report which highlights the wider implication malnutrition has across the board, not only on those suffering, but on their carers too.”

Dr Tim Bowling, Chair of BAPEN, said " BAPEN fully supports Carers UK call for three specific actions that will support carers to recognise the risk of malnutrition early and to ensure appropriate advice and nutrition care planning are available where required. Carers must be supported to provide good nutritional care for their relatives and action is urgently needed to promote nutritional screening in community settings with access to appropriately trained health care professionals.

A joint national nutrition strategy is required and BAPEN is committed to co-authoring such a strategy with the Department of Health and a coalition of national partners working in the field of malnutrition. We look forward to working with Carers UK to tackle these problems effectively and put an end to avoidable malnutrition."

Paul Burstow MP, Minister of Care Services, speaking at the launch of the report praised Malnutrition and Caring for highlighting the need for quality information about nutrition which is easily available for families when they need it most. The Minister added that the report was timely, making an important contribution to efforts being made to tackle malnutrition, including steps by the Government to integrate health and social care and expand and skill up the social care workforce. The launch of the report coincided with National Apprenticeships Week, and Paul Burstow noted that in recent years the number of young people taking an apprenticeship in the social care sector has trebled to 50,000, adding that educating the social care workforce about nutrition was of vital importance. Good practice regarding nutrition in community care settings is there, but there are also too many cases where it is not, and Paul Burstow told of how the CQC Dignity and Nutrition inspections which began in hospitals will be rolled out to residential and domiciliary care too in an effort to drive up standards.

The full research report can be read here

Nominations are now being taken for the Carer’s Award for the Great British Care Award finals. We are looking for unpaid carers to join the current winners from some of the regional awards that took place last autumn. Deadline for entries is 14th May 2012.

Carers UK responds to the publication of the Health Select Committee report into Social Care.

Leading charity Carers UK, supported by nutrition experts Nutricia, is calling for action to improve the nutritional care experienced by carers and their loved ones. Carers UK has published a new report into the impact on families struggling to manage the diet of ill or disabled relatives.

Malnutrition and Caring: The hidden cost for families shows that without the right advice and support, families managing health conditions of older and disabled loved ones end up struggling to cope with the serious consequences of malnutrition: further deterioration in their health, and guilt and constant worry for carers.  Yet malnutrition is largely preventable and treatable.

At least 3 million people in the UK are either malnourished or at risk of malnutrition[1]. The overwhelming majority of these people (93%) live in the community and many are supported by friends and family members.  Yet Carers UK’s research of over 2,000 carers providing substantial care to frail, ill and disabled people found that one in four (25%) of carers were looking after someone who was underweight.  More worryingly, one in six (16%) were caring for someone at real risk of malnutrition but   were receiving no nutritional support.

The survey by Carers UK survey highlighted the fact that carers are not getting the vital advice or information that they need. 60% of respondents were worried about the nutrition of the person they care for, and that these worries are often left unaddressed due to a lack of knowledge about where to turn to for help, insufficient advice and information and, at times, a lack of willingness to intervene from healthcare professionals, leaving carers to struggle on their own.

In addition to the impact on families, malnutrition is putting a major strain on health services, with public expenditure on malnutrition  estimated at £13 billion[2] - more than the annual cost of obesity to the NHS - as the resulting health complications lead to avoidable hospital admissions.

Heléna Herklots, Chief Executive of Carers UK said: "On top of coping with the daily stresses of caring for ill or disabled loved ones, food and nutrition can be a huge source of frustration and worry for families. Carers do their best but can often end up feeling guilty and powerless to help if older or disabled loved ones struggle to eat and get the nutrition they need. Families need support, expert advice and information and training to give them confidence as they care and peace of mind. The research showed that good advice made all the difference to carers and improved everyone’s quality of life.”

Roger Phillips, Regional Vice President, Nutricia UK said: "We at Nutricia are delighted to be working with Carers UK to highlight the issue of malnutrition and its impact on carers and the people they care for. Malnutrition has been raised a lot in the press, but without examining how it affects older and disabled people living at home. This report clearly illustrates what can be done to prevent, treat and manage the problem; taking carers' needs into consideration and empowering them to speak up. This is another positive stepping stone in ensuring that those at high risk of malnutrition have access to the right nutritional care at the right time."

Baroness Greengross OBE, Chief Executive of ILC-UK and EHRC Commissioner, said: "My work on the Equality and Human Rights Commission's Home Care Inquiry, published in November, laid down a challenge to social care services. Whilst providers cope with rapidly growing demand and a challenging financial climate, they must ensure that care services always meet people's basic human rights. Access to nutrition and hydration are fundamental rights, yet too many older and disabled people and their families are left without the support they need to meet basic nutritional needs.

I welcome the report published by Carers UK and Nutricia which makes it clear that one of the key routes to tackling malnutrition is ensuring that carers and families are given the advice, information and tools they need, and are not left to struggle alone. We urgently need action at a national level to ensure we have a coherent strategy to tackle malnutrition and dehydration amongst older and disabled people."

Andy Burman, Chief Executive of The British Dietetic Association, said: “Having enough to eat and drink is one of the most basic human needs, yet today in the UK millions people are living in their own homes are going hungry.  For many, the perception of malnutrition is limited to third world countries when the sad truth tells a very different story.  In 2012, malnutrition is a major issue on our very own doorstep.

“The British Dietetic Association has been campaigning hard to highlight the horrendous levels of malnutrition in older people living in their own homes, through our Mind the Hunger Gap campaign.  We are proud to support this latest Carers UK report which highlights the wider implication malnutrition has across the board, not only on those suffering, but on their carers too.”

Dr Tim Bowling, Chair of BAPEN, said " BAPEN fully supports Carers UK call for three specific actions that will support carers to recognise the risk of malnutrition early and to ensure appropriate advice and nutrition care planning are available where required. Carers must be supported to provide good nutritional care for their relatives and action is urgently needed to promote nutritional screening in community settings with access to appropriately trained health care professionals. 

A joint national nutrition strategy is required and BAPEN is committed to co-authoring such a strategy with the Department of Health and a coalition of national partners working in the field of malnutrition. We look forward to working with Carers UK to tackle these problems effectively and put an end to avoidable malnutrition."

Carers UK and Nutricia are calling for:

  • quality information and advice about nutrition to be available for all carers who need it - for some this may be dietary advice, others may need medical nutrition
  • screening for malnutrition to be a standard part of GP consultations and social care professionals to have the training and tools to spot the signs of malnutrition
  • a Joint National Strategy for Malnutrition which ensures there is a consistent standard of nutritional care across the country.

Contact

Carers UK:

Steve McIntosh, Policy and Public Affairs Manager

020 7378 4937, 07875724088, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Emily Holzhausen, Director of Policy and Public Affairs

020 7378 4935 This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Nutricia

0845 250 1012 This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Notes

  1. The full report and detailed recommendations will be available at www.carersuk.org/professionals/resources/research-library from 7th February 2012
  2. For case studies and to find out more about the impact malnutrition has on families click here
  3. Malnutrition and caring: The hidden cost for families is part of Carers UK and Nutricia’s Care about nutrition, care with nutrition campaign to raise the profile of malnutrition and promote good nutrition among people who are cared for.
  4. Over 2,000 members of Carers UK answered a survey about their experiences of managing someone’s diet and nutritional requirements. Telephone interviews with carers inform the case studies in the report.
  5. For more information, advice and support on care with nutrition please visit: www.carewithnutrition.co.uk
  6. BAPEN has developed a number of the solutions including a validated screening tool ('MUST'), a toolkit for commissioners and providers and e-learning modules forfront line health and social care professionals. Further details can be obtained from the BAPEN website www.bapen.org.uk
  7. Nutricia specialises in the delivery of advanced medical nutrition for the very young, the old and the sick. As well as being the largest specialist nutrition company in Europe, Nutricia is the market leader in the UK. Nutricia’s mission is to improve people's health through nutrition supplying high quality feeds, systems and support services to patients and health care professionals. Through the Nutricia Homeward service, nutritional feeds, enteral feeding systems and nursing care can be delivered directly to patients’ homes. www.nutricia.co.uk
  8. Carers UK is a charity set up to support the millions of people who care for an elderly relative, a sick partner or a disabled family member. Carers UK:

- supports carers and provides information and advice about caring

- influences policy through our research based

- campaigns to make life better for carers.

www.carersuk.org



[1] Elia M, Russell CA. 2009. Combating Malnutrition: Recommendations for Action. BAPEN.

[2] Elia M, Russell CA (Eds.) (2009) Combating Malnutrition: Recommendations for Action. A report by British Association of Parenteral and Enteral Nutrition (BAPEN)

Heléna Herklots calls for new vision to tackle care crisis

New Carers UK Chief Executive Heléna Herklots has described 2012 as a ‘crucial year’ for the 6.4 million people caring for ill, older and disabled relatives.

Whilst expressing ongoing concerns about the Government’s Welfare Reform Bill, Carers UK has welcomed an ‘absolute assurance’ from the Government this week, that the link between Carer’s Allowance and Personal Independence Payment will be written into legislation.

Carers UK is part of alliance of major charities calling for joint action on care crisis

Over 50 charities representing older and disabled people and their families have warmly welcomed the start of cross-party talks on the future of social care.  In January, the Care & Support Alliance joined employers, unions, faith and community groups to write an open letter to the Prime Minister, pointing to the costs to society, the economy and family life of failing to act on the crisis in care. 

In a joint statement, welcoming the talks which will start this week, the Alliance said: "The unavoidable challenge we face as a country is how to support the increasing number of people who need care. Social care has been put into the 'too difficult' tray by successive Governments and these cross-party talks mean that we are closer than ever to reaching a new consensus on the future of the care and support system. 

The Care & Support Alliance urges each of the party leaders to seize this opportunity for urgent, fundamental and lasting reform: delivering a social care system which can provide the well-funded and high-quality care and support we would all expect for ourselves and our families."

-ENDS-

The Care & Support Alliance was set up 2 years ago to campaign for the reform of social care. It is chaired by MS Society and convened by Carers UK. For further details please see www.careandsupportalliance.org 

Members: 

Action for Advocacy, Action on Hearing Loss, Afiya Trust, Age UK, Alzheimer’s Society, Anchor, British Red Cross, Carers UK, Centre for Policy on Ageing, CLIC Sargent, Contact a Family, Crossroads, Disability Alliance, English Community Care Association, Every Disabled Child Matters, Grandparents Plus, Guide Dogs, Home Group, Huntington’s Disease Association, Independent Age, Joseph Rowntree Foundation, Learning Disability Coalition, Leonard Cheshire Disability, Macmillan Cancer Support, Marie Curie Cancer Care, Mencap, Motor Neurone Disease Association, MS Society, Muscular Dystrophy Campaign, National Autistic Society, National Care Forum, National Centre for Independent Living, National Council for Palliative Care, National Family Carers Network, National Rheumatoid Arthritis Society, National Voices, Parkinson’s UK, Princess Royal Trust for Carers, Radar, Rethink, Relatives and Residents Association, RNIB, Scope, Sense, Shaping Our Lives, Shared Lives Plus, The Stroke Association, Sue Ryder Care, United Response, Vitalise, VoiceAbility, WRVS.

 

Carers UK will be the charity partner for the Carers Award category at the 2012 Great British Care Awards. 

The Carer’s Award is a special category of the Great British Care Awards, and will be given to an unpaid carer or former carer who, in the opinion of the judges, can demonstrate commitment and perseverance in helping to bring about better recognition and support for carers. 

The award was created by the Great British Care Awards to recognise those people who draw on their own experience to help improve vital support services for carers and the people they care for. It seeks to acknowledge and celebrate the dedication that carers show to their local community or society.

The award is open to all without any upper or lower age limit. The person must have been helped bring about change in the last 18 months, be unpaid and receive no financial reward.  The individual should be able to demonstrate that they have had a significant positive impact on the lives of carers and that they have gone the extra mile. 

Finalists will be invited to attend the National Home Care finals, which take place on 23 June at the Grosvenor House Hotel, Park Lane in London. The awards will coincide with the end of Carers Week 2012. Nomination forms can be downloaded and submitted online at www.care-awards.co.uk/entry-form.php Closing date for entries is 14 May 2012.

Gavin Macregor, Director of Communications & Development of Carers UK, said, 
"Good care services can change the lives of carers and the ill or disabled loved-ones they care for. Carers UK is proud to support the Great British Care Awards, to celebrate the services and individuals who make a real difference to families' lives by delivering excellence in care." 

Mike Padgham, Director of the Great British Care Awards said,
“We are delighted that Carers UK is supporting this special Carer’s Award.  The endorsement of such a well regarded national charity will ensure that this award category gains the high profile it so highly deserves.  Without the millions of unpaid carers many of the elderly and vulnerable members of our communities would not be able to remain independent in their own homes.  We look forward to receiving the nominations which will doubtless prove to be of an extremely high calibre.”

Ends

For all enquiries please call 0115 959 6133 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
For more information on The Great British Care Awards please visit www.care-awards.co.uk

About the Great British Care Awards

The Great British Care Awards whose principal sponsor is h.e.t. software and are supported by the Department of Health, are now in their third year.  The Great British Care Awards are a series of regional events throughout England and are a celebration  of excellence across the care sector.  The purpose of the awards are to pay tribute to those individuals who have demonstrated outstanding excellence within their field of work. There are 9 regional awards leading to 2 national finals for both the home care and care home sectors.

 

Carers UK has joined other charities, care providers, health bodies, employers, and unions to sign an open letter to Prime Minister calling for cross-party action on social care reform.

Madeleine Starr, Carers UK’s Head of Innovation, has been awarded an MBE for services to employment in the 2012 New Year’s Honours list.

Since 1999, Madeleine has led Carers UK work on carers and employment and was instrumental in securing major changes to law, policy and workplace practice for the 3 million people who juggle work with caring for ill, frail or disabled friends or family members.

Madeleine was instrumental to Carers UK’s work on the Carers (Equal Opportunities) Act (2004), making employment a central part of local authority carer’s assessments; and the Work and Families Act (2006) which extended the right to ask for flexible working to carers.

Madeleine founded business forum Employers for Carers with Caroline Waters OBE, Director of People and Policy at BT plc, and a small group of forward-thinking employers. The network has now grown to over 50, including Sainsbury’s, British Gas, PricewaterhouseCoopers, London
Fire Brigade and the Metropolitan Police and is at the cutting edge of employment policy.

Caroline Waters OBE, Director of People and Policy at BT and Chair of Employers for Carers, said: "Madeleine's work at Carers UK has been central not just in raising employers' awareness of carers' needs as they strive to combine work and care, but also in making the hard business case for carer-friendly workplaces. Her passion and vision have driven the success of Employers for Carers and have been absolutely critical in establishing caring as a major issue on the agenda of employers, business and policy makers."

Don Brereton CB, Chair of Carers UK said: “When Madeleine started in this field carers’ needs and rights were nowhere to be seen on the employment landscape. She has transformed this, building a strong research and policy base, international partnerships and successfully winning European funding to get this work off the ground.”

Following a career in education and publishing, Madeleine joined Carers UK in 1999 to lead the first ever work on carers and employment on a project funded by the European Social Fund. Madeleine describes the work as her passion.

Madeleine Starr MBE, said: “With an ageing population and more of us having to work and care longer, caring is a challenge not just for families but all of society, business and the economy.

Most of us will care at some point and we should be able to normalise caring into everyday life, particularly employment. Carers often desperately want to stay in work and employers can’t afford to lose talented and knowledgeable staff. Yet one in five people gives up work to care, often leading to a terrible impact on their income, social networks, pensions and wellbeing.

Honours are never given to individuals, but always to the people and networks they work with who make change possible. I am incredibly proud of what families, businesses and Carers UK have achieved together in transforming attitudes, policy and practice around caring and
employment.”

Carers UK today expressed concern at new evidence that care charges were continuing to rise whilst the incomes of many older people and their families needing care were falling placing increasing pressure on families that are already struggling.

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