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Carers UK welcomes Government action on carers breaks funding

24 November 2011

Carers UK today welcomed Government’s new moves to ensure that the funding for carers breaks is spent by Primary Care Trusts.

The document, published today, sets out the targets and goals for Primary Care Trusts for the coming financial year (2012/13).  Over the past three years, carers have been frustrated by the fact that funding of around £250 million[1] passed to Primary Care Trusts from Government to spend on carers’ vital breaks has not always been spent.

Emily Holzhausen, Director of Policy said, “This is a welcome move from Government. Where Primary Care Trusts have not spent the money on breaks, carers have felt frustrated and let down.  Many have found it extremely difficult to get relevant information to evaluate what was happening with the funding.

“Breaks are not a luxury but a necessity to carers, many of whom rarely get time to themselves because they are caring around the clock.  This move by Government today marks a real improvement which will be welcomed by carers across England. Given the existing pressure on funding for social care and support for carers, prioritising support for families in this way is particularly welcome.”

At Carers UK’s recent Carers Summit, over 250 carers called upon the Minister for Care Services, Paul Burstow MP, to take decisive action at a recent meeting.

The NHS Operating Framework represents a strong response to this and work by the Princess Royal Trust for Carers and Crossroads Care that:

  • Spending plans on carers breaks will have to be explicitly agreed and signed off by both local authorities and PCT clusters;
  • The financial contribution made to support carers by both local authorities and PCT clusters will have to be identified;
  • How much of the total is being spent on carers’ breaks will have to be identified with an indicative number of breaks that would be available and, importantly for transparency this will have to be published on the PCT or PCT cluster’s website by 30 September 2012 at the latest.

Notes:

NHS Operating Framework is available here:

www.dh.gov.uk/prod_consum_dh/groups/dh_digitalassets/documents/digitalasset/dh_131428.pdf



[1] In 2008 the last Government announced £150m over two years for carers breaks funding through Primary Care Trusts and in 2010 the Coalition Government announced a further £400m over four years.

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