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Lobbying success. Government agrees new care commission will involve carers

09 June 2008

Following lobbying by Carers UK, the Government has agreed to amend a new bill to ensure carers are listened to. The Health and Social Care Bill will create a new Care Quality Commission and the amendments will ensure it has regard to carers' views and consults them alongside service users.



The Health and Social Care Bill was introduced into Parliament last year is currently passing through the House of Lords. It will create the Care Quality Commission to replace the Healthcare Commission, the Commission for Social Care Inspection and the Mental Health Act Commission. The new body is intended to start work in April 2009.

The original Bill did not mention carers at all. Carers UK felt this was wrong and argued that carers must be considered a key group to be involved and consulted alongside patients and service users.

We also had other concerns about whether social care would be paid enough attention in the new Commission; whether the Commission had a strong enough remit to drive the improvement of care services and whether service users' human rights would be protected.

Carers UK sent briefings to Peers, many of whom made speeches calling for carers to be included in the Bill. In a debate on the Bill in March, important contributions were made by Baroness Cumberlege, Baroness Neuberger, former health Minister Lord Warner, Baroness Bottomley, Carers UK Vice President Baroness Pitkeathley, Baroness Gould, Baroness Finlay, Lord Harris, Baroness Howe, Lord Pendry and Baroness Meacher. These speeches and the debate during the subsequent Committee stage convinced Government to make changes to the Bill rather than risk defeat in the next stage of the Bill.

The Government has therefore tabled amendments to the Bill which will introduce new objectives for the Commission, ensuring that it must involve people who use services and carers. The changes will be confirmed on Monday 16th June when the Bill has its Report stage in the House of Lords.

The changes mean that the Commission will have to publish a statement saying how it will promote awareness of its functions among carers, how it will engage in discussion with carers about the provision of health and social care services, how it will take into account the views of carers and how it will involve carers in its work.

Carers UK would like to thank all those MPs and Peers who spoke about carers during the passage of the Bill and ensured that the new Care Quality Commission will better serve their needs.

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