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We believe that 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.

Urgent change is needed if carers are to get the breaks they need and deserve.

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. 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 caring.

In September 2019, Carers UK released a research report revealing that a third of unpaid carers in England would use a break from caring to see the doctor. Of those who did manage to take some time off, 44 per cent used it to attend a medical appointment. Read the press release and full report here.

We have the following key recommendations for breaks provision in England:

  • The funding for carers’ breaks available to CCGs and local authorities through the Better Care Fund should be at least doubled from £130 million to £260 million in 2020/21, and trebled in subsequent years, as well as ring-fenced for this purpose.
  • Local authorities must make breaks a key part of their preventative work and ensure that carers are able to access them.
  • Carers’ breaks provision needs to be at the heart of the health and social care system in the short and longer term, including in continuing healthcare.
  • Outcomes and resulting programmes from the Prevention Green Paper need to have carers’ breaks and support clearly included.
  • Breaks should be part of a core strategy to prevent loneliness and social isolation.

Across the rest of the UK, Carers UK is calling for funding for breaks to be increased and for there to be consistency of support within nations and local areas.

If you would like to know more about our campaign, contact our policy team:

Drawing on our research and interviews with carers we have developed a range of information resources including videos for carers who are looking to take a break, with tips on overcoming some of the difficulties they may face. For more information about these resources, please visit the help and advice section of our website.

Do you have any questions?

Every day we hear from people who need help with looking after a friend or family member.

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