Guardian's " View " On The Plight Of Carers

Share information, support and advice on all aspects of caring.
At very long last , Frances Ryan in this morning's Guardian opens the batting ... a little more than a decade late.

Still , better late than never ?

Mind you , the headline does not , exactly , inspire confidence ... the " B******g Obvious " again ?

Perhaps SLAVES next time Frances ... not a headline to catch the public's attention but , actual REALITY ?

Another Carers Day in the House moment ... how much devoted to fact ... and how much to possible solutions ?????? ... ng-britain

Carers save Britain billions every year. They need more support.

There are 6.5 million carers in the UK working for free. It’s time to pay them what they’re worth.

It’s National Carers Week, and I’m awaiting the government’s social media accounts sending their warmest congrats.

You know the sort; tweets from a minister celebrating the “vital and selfless work carers do every day”. Words, of course, are cheaper than actions.

This month, the Conservatives released a cross-government “action plan” setting out what they claimed were “the practical actions we plan to take over the next two years”. It includes several positive measures, such as a review of dedicated employment rights for carers, a fund to develop new ways to reach carers with information earlier, and training for NHS staff to better support them.

But what’s striking is the total absence of any focus on financial help for carers; barely a paragraph, in fact. (At one point, the paper even suggests getting disabled people into work is a way to help carers financially.) Much like Theresa May’s mental health drive, it’s as though we’ve entered a bizarre game show in which ministers try to solve a health and care crisis without ever pushing more resources towards it. We could call it: “How small can the state go?”

The prize could be wellbeing or perhaps a bit of dignity. Social care services are on “the verge of collapse”, research by the Association of Directors of Adult Social Services warned this week, with cuts of more than £7bn and counting leaving hundreds of thousands of elderly and disabled people without support to wash, eat and leave the house. It’s unpaid family carers – largely women – who are being left to pick up the pieces. There are 6.5 million unpaid carers in the UK. Almost 180,000 of them are children (or as many as 700,000, due to underreporting).

There’s a habit of romanticising caring: it’s easier to focus on the altruism than the final electric demands. Many carers juggle work and caring responsibilities but one in five is forced to give up work altogether, meaning all that person has to live off is what the social safety net awards in benefits. In the UK, a carer receives just £64.60 a week in carer’s allowance for a minimum of 35 hours – that’s equivalent to £1.85 an hour. (More than 1.3 million people provide 50 hours of care a week or more but receive no more social security for it).

I often listen to discussions of support for carers as if I’m missing something. The conversation always has a good dose of worthiness about it – after all, who on earth would be against helping disabled or older people? What politician would say they didn’t want to support family carers? At the same time, it’s characterised by an unthinking acceptance of a supposed truth: carers should be given the bare minimum support by the state.

Flick through the Daily Mail or listen to rightwing politicians talk about the need to get the welfare bill down, and the argument in recent years has actually been to leave disabled people and their carers with less. Even Labour, who have been relatively strong on carers’ rights – Jeremy Corbyn pledged a £10 rise for carers at the last election – have been lukewarm on reversing many of the post-2010 welfare cuts. No one ever talks about how we should be radically redistributing more resources to disabled people and their families. No one uses the important push for workers to get a living wage to ask why carers don’t need the same.

This is despite a lot of evidence that shows that existing levels of support are seriously below a decent standard of living. Research by the Disability Benefits Consortium, a national coalition of more than 80 organisations, this year found the majority of people on out-of-work sickness benefits are struggling to afford to eat, pay bills or get to hospital appointments. Meanwhile, their carers have had to fight to not be charged the bedroom tax for the room they sleep in while caring. Others are losing their carer’s allowance as changes to the gateway benefit, personal independence payments (PIP), means that many are no longer eligible.

Is this the life we want for the people giving up their days and nights? Not only is increasing social security for carers the right thing to do, it’s economically prudent: carers save the economy £132bn a year, an average of £19,336 per carer. This is often at the cost of their own health; almost three-quarters of carers in the UK say they have suffered mental ill health as a result of caring, while well over half report their physical health has worsened, according to new research by Carers UK this week.

By 2020-21, almost 1 million people are expected to be claiming carer’s allowance as the population ages. There’s never been a more important time to seriously evaluate the state’s support for this hidden workforce. But this shouldn’t be used as a way to justify the ongoing neglect of the social care system.

Family carers are not human sticking plasters for squeezed council budgets. Rather, it’s because there’s a social care crisis that unpaid carers are under more pressure than ever. Those who suggest families should just take more slack – often Conservative ministers – are not typically the ones who are going to be suffering from exhaustion at 5am or counting out 50p coins because carers’ allowance doesn’t stretch the week.

Any of us may need to be cared for, or care, unexpectedly – be it for an elderly parent developing dementia or falling ill ourselves. The long-term undervaluing of caring labour – because it’s “women’s work”, in the home, and isn’t profit-driven – is hurting millions of families. If politicians wish to show they value carers, it’s going to take hard cash, not platitudes.

Out in the first over ... to a ball that she should have left ?

Perfect wicket for batting , no breeze , not a cloud in the sky ( Definately not being played at the cricket ground in CarerLand ... no play ever , too dark ... even with the floodlights on ! )

The usual amount of BOLD and LARGER font in the above is a good clue !

Oh well , must have got the above information from Carers Uk ... and not us.

Still , at least we got a mention.

Of more direct interest , the comments section at the bottom ... 115 as I type ... higher than most articles at this time of the morning.

Had to smile ... a few comments from care workers thinking that said article also relates to them !!!


Perhaps we shall wait a couple of years for the No. 3 to appear at the crease ?

0-1 ... not a good start ... but this IS CarerLand !
A long time ago, I was paid the council's casual user mileage rate when I attended strategy meetings. One mile was valued at more than one hours of my time on CA!
What we do MUST be classed as work if we are to get any proper recognition. We are the slaves of the 21st century. I get really annoyed when well paid officers of the county council tell us we MUST do even more, for nothing! Would they?
Wow !

Comments section 1 short of 500 as I type.

I bet there's a few beauts in there.

Over I go !


Just read a few ... in the Guardian of all places ... boy , does " Joe Public " need educating on the Plight of Carers !!!

" Carers should be given the bare minimum support by the state. "

If they choose to do it for free, let them.
I don't see why people should be paid for caring for their family.

Its life. Its what (most, normal civilized) people do. we will all have to do it sooner or later, we all will need caring for in our old age (or sooner).

A person who needs support, should be provided financial support (if they need it) to support that care giver. ie: if you are a full time carer for a family member, they should receive sufficient to support you, as a professional third party carer would, in the employ of a care provision company.

Or, the individual should be able to appoint/pay for professional third party care as required.

To be paid a reward or compensation for "not abandoning your family" is absurd.

A DWP mole , perhaps ?

Or a general reaction from those outside CarerLand ?

Either way , that tells our supporting organisations something ... " The Message " is NOT being heard , or understood !!!

Ah , one certainly worth posting ... I am sure it will resonate throughout the Forum , and spill over to CarerLand.
Who takes care of those when there is no one to care for the disabled and infirm ?

The responsibility rests on the state and local government, which costs them much more than if they paid carers to care.

Since the carers do care for those in their care, what incentive is there to pay them ? The simple answer is for all the carers to strike and let the state pick up the pieces.

Obviously, they can’t let the infirm and disabled die, so they would have to employ the carers on a salary. The carers would then be paid like any state employee, subject to the same conditions, CRB checks, Health & Safety and bureaucracy. Also subject to disciplinary matters if necessary.

Would those paid, now be able to choose who the care for ?

Maybe then choosing to caring for the same relative that they cared for before, except paid by and subject to the state. Everyone now is paid to do something they are supposed to do and the country goes bankrupt. Is that a better scenario than what we have at present ?

No ! Not me ... more of a CarerWatch poster of old than a poster on this forum today ???

Even better one ?
When a close family member becomes extremely ill, but you cannot access the NHS care they need - because the referral thresholds are so high - and so ill they cannot work, and cannot manage to look after themselves, families are left in limbo.

There is no chance they'll get any social security application through, without going to tribunal - so, that's about a year.

If you're lucky, you might be able to get that NHS referral through towards the end of that year, from constant chasing up and challenging the NHS trust/CCG to accept the GP referral.

During that time the GP cannot help - the person needs specialist care, so it is beyond the GP, which is why they referred them in the first place.

They, and their family, exist in limbo between the GP and the specialist care they need to have. The person gets no better; they person requires care.

The only option is that a family member leaves employment to care for them, which, in turn, puts pressure on their finances and reduces the ability to prop up the person who is ill financially. Everybody's stressed at the most difficult time for the whole family.

I know this because I've done it.

The terms and conditions of our publically funded services and the access to them have changed. During that time, Government has been indulging in an elaborate game of pretend that they haven't: that it's just you.

There's are lots of 'it's just you' isolated around the country, whilst Ministers double-blind themselves to the impacts of the policies and tell us that 'proper disabled people are supported' implying that those disabled people turned down aren't really proper disabled.

They indulge themselves in outrage over the Windrush generation, whilst pretending they couldn't have known.

If every MP knows of people being treated badly in their constituencies, then how the hell do they not extrapolate that to systemic failure ?

And what is the purpose of representives that do not represent, and Government that doesn't govern in a manner that ensures it is doing what it says it is ?

As with Windrush, so with disability and the NHS and DWP.

Will it be 'news' at some point in the future that terrible harm has been done to members of the public? Will we have 'if only we'd known. '?

The elaborate game of pretend that disabled people are treated fairly, with prompt access to healthcare and social security, gives no warning to the public that they will likely be let down should they become extremely ill. That is unforgiveable.

We're sensible people. As parents we have insured ourselves against accident, sickness, unemployment, death, over and above what the state says we are entitled to, as any social security wouldn't be enough to bring security to our family.

But it was our child that became ill, and a year or so down the line, it becomes apparent that a seriously ill child makes life unaffordable. Your savings are gone.

By the time you've gone to tribunal, finally seen the specialist - a year or so later - you are living hand-to-mouth, and all the time you are caring for a very sick child, desperately afraid, and starting to realise that these systems have not gone wrong for you, this is how they are.

It goes without saying that carer's allowance is a non-starter when you cannot get the disability claim accepted. It is awful.

The more social security is cynically restricted, the more the threshold for access to NHS secondary care rises,the more perfectly healthy people will be unable to work, as saying that a person doesn't meet the criteria for support, does not mean that they don't need it.

Stop press : Moves afoot off forum , and one of us has used a tweeter ... double barrelled ?

Nothing new on their manor , apparently !

" Tweet you idiot ! Look it up on Wiki ! "

Third brief report in , off forum , from contacts in local carers groups ... activities during Carers Week.

All three reported basically the same ... when asking " Joe Public " what should family carers receive to care ... same general answer ... " Nothing ... if they chose to care , why should I have to pay through my taxes ? "

Enough said ?