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Carers UK today makes a pioneering move into the app market with the launch of Jointly – a tool to help families manage care for loved ones alongside increasingly complex lives

The Government has published Guidance on the Better Care Fund. The Fund was announced in June as part of the 2013 Spending Round. The funding is designed to help local authorities work more closely with their local health authority to develop integrated services and to prepare for their new duties under the Care Bill.

For carers, the Fund includes:

  • £130 million for carers breaks in 2015-16, an increase on the £100 million a year which has been available since 2011.
  • Funding to implement new duties on local councils to support carers through social care services.

Responding to the publication of Guidance on the ‘Better Care Fund’, Director of Policy at Carers UK, Emily Holzhausen said:

“Carers UK is pleased to see the confirmation of increased funding for respite breaks for carers and money identified to support the delivery of the welcome new rights for carers in the Care Bill.

However this funding is not ring-fenced so it is vital that local authorities, who are under considerable financial pressure, protect this funding and ensure that it reaches families who are struggling to provide care for loved ones. Although announcements on funding for carers’ breaks are welcome, carers are disappointed to find that this doesn’t reach them on the ground – or, worse still, that the support they receive is actually being cut.

There is a very real risk that money added to budgets to support carers will drain away elsewhere as severe cuts to local council’s allocations from Government continue to result in reduced spending on social care. Alongside specific funding for carers, Government must deliver the wider social care funding needed to meet growing demand and recover from decades of underfunding. “

Carers UK is also calling for the Care Bill to be amended to include a duty on NHS bodies to identify carers. We believe this duty would support the NHS and local government in working together to improve the lives of carers, and ensure the Better Care Fund brings the greatest benefit for carers.

The Fund, originally referred to as the Integration Transformation Fund, provides for £3.8 billion worth of funding in 2015/16 to be spent locally on health and care to improve integration. In 2014/15, in addition to the £900m transfer already planned from the NHS to adult social care, a further £200m will transfer to enable local areas to prepare for the Better Care Fund in 2015/16.

Carers UK will be doing further analysis of the Fund and accompanying Guidance.

 

MPs of all parties debating the Care Bill for the first time last night recognised and welcomed the strengthening of rights for adult carers caring for adults in the Bill. They also welcomed joint working between Health and Education Ministers which means young carers will also benefit from these stronger rights to assessment and support through the Children and Families Bill.

Poll shows 9 in 10 of the public support new rights to time off work for caring for loved ones

Carers UK has responded to the Government's Autumn Statement in which the Chancellor announced improved forecasts for economic growth and employment rates, but argued that, despite an improving economic outlook, the Government had to stick to plans to cut public spending.

Carers UK has come together with 18 charities, who work on disability and carers’ benefits, to write to the Prime Minister to set the record straight after his comments last week in Parliament about the Housing Benefit ‘bedroom tax’ changes.

Record numbers of carers are missing out on vital financial support due to a lack of advice, Carers UK reveals today.

Carers UK has announced Caroline Waters OBE, Deputy Chair of the Equality and Human Rights Commission and former Director of People and Policy at BT, as its new Vice President.

House of Lords debates amendment to give parent carers equal rights to carers of disabled adults and older people

New figures on the quality of life of carers show carers feeling they don’t have control over their lives, don’t have time to do things they value and are neglecting their own health and wellbeing as a result of the care they provide.

Action must be taken to prevent rising numbers of staff quitting work because they are struggling to manage jobs alongside care for a loved one with dementia.

New research published in the Mirror today suggests that over 2000 carers have been sent court summonses for unpaid Council Tax since the changes to Council Tax Benefit introduced in April.

Carers UK warmly welcomes this morning’s announcement from the Education Secretary, Michael Gove MP, that the Government will amend legislation currently in Parliament to strengthen the rights of young carers and their families to receive support.

Carers UK calls on Government to take urgent action on contradictory benefits rules

Carers UK calls for action as poll shows lack of public awareness of care

New research by Dr Linda Pickard at the LSE published today shows that care is facing a crisis over the coming two decades.  This work serves as a stark warning to Government and society that more care must be provided or families will suffer.

Landmark report from Government, business and Carers UK argues for more support to help carers juggle work and care

Charity says recognition of carers through proposed scheme could help increasing numbers of families struggling to manage work and care responsibilities.

Carers UK has responded to today’s High Court decision to dismiss a case by 10 disabled people and their families challenging Housing Benefit cuts known as the ‘bedroom tax’

Carers UK has welcomed a Health Select Committee report published today calling for urgent action to relieve pressures on emergency healthcare.

A delegation of carers has delivered over 100 letters to 10 Downing Street from families affected by the ‘spare room’ cuts to Housing Benefit.

New Carers UK research shows Government failing to protect carers and disabled people from ‘spare room’ cuts

Carers UK has responded to the Government's Spending Review which has set out further cuts to public spending for 2015/16 and a new social care budget to be shared between the NHS and social care in England. 

Carers Week 2013 10th – 16th June - Prepared to Care?

New research from Carers Week of over 2,100 carers has revealed that carers are being woefully let down by a lack of support when they first take on a caring role. The findings from the report, Prepared to Care? show that support is not being made available to new carers with often devastating consequences.

Released to coincide with the launch of Carers Week 2013, the findings show that 75% of carers were unprepared for all aspects of caring. A further 81% of carers say they were not aware of the support available1 and 35% believe they were given the wrong advice about the support on offer2.

With around 6.5 million carers in the UK3 and 6,000 people taking on a new caring role every day4, the charities within the Carers Week partnership are calling for the government, GPs and health and social care professionals to ensure that more support is given to carers from day one of their caring role.

The research goes on to outline the huge emotional, physical and financial effects that caring can have as people are not prepared for the impact of their caring role.

Impact of caring

The survey shows that carers often struggle to balance work and their caring responsibilities, with 45% of carers saying they had to give up work.

The results also highlight how carers’ physical, emotional and mental wellbeing can suffer. 61% of carers have experienced depression and nearly all carers surveyed (92%) say they feel more stressed because of their caring role.

The survey also emphasised the strain that caring can put on people’s relationships. 52% of respondents have experienced difficulties in their relationship with their partner and 61% have found it difficult to maintain friendships.

Helen Clarke, Carers Week Manager, commented: “The impact of caring for a loved one or friend is an issue that we simply cannot ignore. Every day across the country, 6,000 people take on new caring responsibilities and too often they face the challenges of caring without support. Becoming a carer can happen overnight and without information and guidance, carers can be left feeling isolated and alone.

“The figures clearly show that carers aren’t being offered support and if they are, it can often be wrong or not the full information. The consequences for carers are huge, so it’s vital that GPs, health and social care professionals and the government all play a role to ensure that carers are offered the support they deserve from day one.”

Heléna Herklots, Chief Executive of Carers UK- one of the Carers Week charity partners - said: “There are 6.5 million carers in the UK saving society over £119 billion a year with the unpaid care they provide. Given this massive contribution, when they start to care, families must get support, advice and information early, to enable them to juggle care and work, stay healthy and to live their own lives alongside caring. Without the right support, the impact on carers' health and finances can be devastating and can bring wider costs to society and the economy, if they are pushed to breaking point."

Shane Wood, aged 45, who cares full time for his partner, Pete, aged 50, who has Parkinson’s, explained how he felt when he first started caring: “When Pete was diagnosed, we weren't referred to relevant services by our GP and combined with my increasing caring duties this lack of support ended up putting a huge strain on our relationship. The only time I felt we got the support we needed was a few years in when things reached breaking point. By then I got to the point where I had I lost myself in the caring role. I didn't recognise who I was anymore - I was tired and short tempered all the time, and my friends told me I needed to get help because I simply couldn't cope.”
 
Carers flagged as part of the survey that they would have benefitted from better support and information from day one. As part of the report, Prepared to Care? carers stated what would have made a difference to their experience, they included:

  1. Better public understanding and recognition of carers.
  2. Access to information and the right support from the beginning.
  3. Professionals understanding the role of carers and sharing information, decision making and planning with them.
  4. Access to high quality practical and emotional support and information as well as breaks from caring.
  5. Flexible working practices and understanding from employers.
  6. Financial support and a fair and easy to navigate welfare system.

Carers Week is delivered by a partnership of national charities – Age UK, Carers Trust, Carers UK, Independent Age, Macmillan Cancer Support, Marie Curie Cancer Care, MS Society, Parkinson’s UK and supported by the Stroke Association and Bupa’s Carewell. In 2013 it is sponsored by Sainsbury’s Plc and the sector skills council in England, Skills for Care.

Keep up to date with campaign developments at
www.carersweek.org
www.facebook.com/carersweek
Twitter @carersweek

- ENDS -

For media enquiries, interview requests and case study requests, please contact Kim Atkins at Carers Week on 020 7378 4958 or 07787115329 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Copies of the report, Prepared to Care? are available for journalists under embargo. To receive a copy under embargo, please contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


1. 52% of carers were definitely not aware of support available and 29% were partly not aware of support available
2. 16% of carers were definitely given wrong advice about support available and 19% were partly given wrong advice about support available
3. 2011 Census figures for England, Wales and Northern Ireland including projected figure from Valuing Carers 2011 for Scotland
4. Carers UK (2006) In the Know. The importance of information for carers

Carers Week surveyed 2,115 carers between March and May 2013. The majority of respondents completed the survey online, with eight respondents completing paper versions. 1,303 of the respondents were from England, 75 from Northern Ireland, 151 from Scotland and 92 from Wales (the remainder did not state their location).

Notes for editors:

  1. Carers Week is delivered by a partnership of national charities – Age UK, Carers Trust, Carers UK, Independent Age, Macmillan Cancer Support, Marie Curie Cancer Care, MS Society, Parkinson’s UK and supported by the Stroke Association and Bupa’s Carewell. In 2013 it is sponsored by Sainsbury’s Plc and the sector skills council in England Skills for Care.
  2. Carers Week takes place to recognise and celebrate the UK’s 6.5 million carers and encourage them to access the support, advice and information they need that can help improve their lives and the people they care for.
  3. Over 2,300 organisations take part in Carers Week, including local charities and voluntary organisations, hospitals, hospices and care homes and a growing number of employers.
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