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Carers UK welcomes recognition for working carers in NHS' Interim People Plan

03 June 2019

Carers UK today welcomes the recognition in the Interim People Plan that the NHS workforce will have a thread of work that also includes supporting their own staff who are juggling work and unpaid care for their disabled, chronically ill or older relatives and friends. Carers UK contributed evidence to the Plan.

Carers UK estimates that a staggering quarter of a million workers in the NHS who are juggling work and unpaid care for relatives and friends who are ill or disabled – one in five workers. This is one of the more hidden issues facing the NHS workforce.  

In our research, an estimated 72,000 workers have left the NHS due to unpaid caring responsibilities.   Tackling this could improve health and wellbeing, retention and job satisfaction. The Interim People Plan aims to make the NHS the Best Place to Work, including focussing on unpaid caring responsibilities – and making this a strand of building a 21st century workforce.

Carers UK also welcomes the commitment to joint work around the development of new learning modules for carers to be delivered by March 2020.

Helen Walker, Chief Executive of Carers UK said:

“For this plan to become a reality for unpaid carers within the NHS workforce we will need to see real and concrete steps to improve the visibility of carers within NHS workplaces, large and small. This needs to work from smaller employers like GP practices to bigger employers such as NHS Trusts. Our work so far through our Employers for Carers network demonstrates that there are clear benefits to be gained, but only when the right measures are put in place and the right awareness and culture developed. 

“With an ageing population, and a tighter recruitment pool, juggling work and unpaid caring is set to grow to become an ever bigger issue. We look forward to working with NHS Improvement, HEE and NHS England to make sure that the 5 year strategy gets it right for unpaid carers.”

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