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Give us a break

On behalf of the UK's 6.5 million carers, we are campaigning for increased breaks for carers.

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Carers at breaking point

In our State of Caring 2017 survey 40% of carers said they hadn’t had a day off for more than a year and 25% of carers said they hadn’t had a day off from caring for more than five years.1

Carers who hadn’t taken a break from caring within the last year were also more likely to report that their mental or physical health had suffered as a result of caring2. For many carers, they are at breaking point and urgent change is needed.

A life outside caring

Carers have a right to have a life outside caring and they need to be able to take time for themselves and to look after their own mental and physical health. When we asked carers what would make the most difference to improving their health and wellbeing, regular breaks from caring was the most popular choice.3

Transparency and accountability

At the moment it is impossible to get an accurate picture of how much is being spent to put in place breaks for carers. We want national and local governments to make it clearer what they are doing to ensure that carers can get the breaks they need.

Increasing access to breaks

We are asking for funding to be significantly increased across England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland to ensure that many more carers to be able to take a break. Shockingly, only 13% of carers told us they don’t struggle to access a break.4

Access to breaks should be consistent within nations and local areas and not based on a post-code lottery. We need good quality care for disabled and older people to make this happen. Many carers are unable to access a break simply because they don’t know how to.

Carers must be made aware of how to access breaks in their area and targeted support should be provided for those who struggle to get breaks, for example parent carers and those providing palliative care.

Carers UK is calling for carers breaks provision to be at the heart of the health and social care system in the short and longer term. If you would like to know more about our campaign, contact our policy team: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

 1 Carers UK (2017) State of Caring 2017

2 Many carers who hadn’t taken a break from caring within the last year reported suffering mental ill health as a result of caring or that their physical health has worsened as a result of caring, with 73% and 64% stating this respectively, compared to 70% and 61% for all groups. Carers UK (2017) State of Caring 2017

3 Carers UK (2017) State of Caring 2017

4 Carers UK (2017) State of Caring 2017

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