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Carers UK welcomes more support for carers in new roadmap for NHS

23 October 2014

Today, on the publication of the new NHS Five Year Forward View, Carers UK warmly welcomes the new vision set out for the NHS. For the first time, it sets out a clear commitment to identify carers better, provide more help for carers in crisis and a new programme of support for NHS employees who also have caring responsibilities. 

Many of the steps set out in the plan would also help to smooth the path and make life easier for families who provide unpaid care for relatives who are ill or disabled. This includes urgent care networks on hand seven days a week, care which is easier to access and more proactive support to help people to manage their conditions better.

Heléna Herklots, Chief Executive of Carers UK said:

“We welcome this co-ordinated vision for the NHS which, for the first time begins to appreciate the challenges that are faced by families in caring for their relatives who are chronically ill.  Despite the fact that their support is worth a staggering £119bn a year – equivalent to a second NHS – they often don’t get the right information, advice and assistance to be able to care well for their relative or close friend.  Many have told us they feel invisible - ignored by health professionals and the system. Families pay an enormous cost as a result.  Those caring round the clock are twice as likely to suffer from ill-health as non-carers and 2.3 million people have given up work to care with many suffering financially in the short and long term as a result.”

“A change in attitude towards families is needed right through the NHS if we are to tackle the challenges faced by our ageing population at a time of tight finances. The NHS Forward Plan rightly identifies better support for families as a key part of creating a sustainable NHS. Too often we’ve seen only pockets of good practice which are highly dependent on local champions who have the right vision for change.  The NHS is there for everyone – not just patients – but their carers too.  The real test will be whether, in five years’ time, families have seen the change they so desperately need.”

Background:

The NHS Forward View describes new models for how care could be provided in future.

These include:

  • Identifying carers better
  • finding new ways to support carers by identifying them more effectively
  • More support for carers in a crisis  
  • More support for young carers and the 110,000 older carers over 85 years old 
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