Despite widespread public gratitude for the efforts of unpaid carers during the COVID-19 pandemic, Carers Wales is warning that urgent action is needed from the next Welsh Government to prevent struggling carers from reaching breaking point as the charity launches its manifesto for the Senedd election in May.
Over the past year, the charity’s research found the vast majority of Wales’ 683,000 unpaid carers who look after an elderly, ill or disabled loved one are missing out on having their support needs assessed and on receiving vital information and advice, despite legal rights to this support. Carers Wales research has found carers have been struggling for years without adequate support, and, as the pandemic impacted access to services, many unpaid carers are exhausted and close to breaking point putting at risk their ability to provide care to vulnerable people and jeopardizing their hopes for a life alongside caring.
In light of estimations that unpaid carers have saved the Welsh NHS £33 million every day of the pandemic, and polling that shows 91% of the public in Wales believe unpaid carers have been important during the crisis, Carers Wales is calling upon all political parties to commit to a series of steps to recognize the debt Wales owes to its unpaid carers and give them hope for the future.
The charity is calling for investment in carers services that were disrupted during the pandemic, for national standards that ensure equal access to carer support across Wales and for the creation of a national carers register to enable services to identify local carers and offer them advice and support. Carers Wales is also calling on candidates to encourage practices that enable unpaid carers to remain in employment, such as paid leave for caring, and for a greater voice for carers at national and local levels in shaping services for carers.
Claire Morgan, Director of Carers Wales, said
“Society overwhelmingly values the critical role unpaid carers have in supporting vulnerable people across Wales. However, tangible and meaningful support is urgently required to keep this third pillar of social care and health from reaching breaking point.
The ongoing pandemic has further highlighted the astonishing lengths that carers are going to so their loved ones stay safe, but a lack of access to the information around what they are entitled to and the underinvestment in carers services have left many feeling forgotten and unrewarded.
The next Welsh Parliament needs to prioritise unpaid carers during the next Senedd term to reward the tireless endeavours of our nation’s unsung heroes.”
More information and contact details
Carers Wales is the national campaigning charity for unpaid carers in Wales. We provide information, advice and wellbeing support for the 683,000 unpaid carers in Wales and use research and strategic engagement to campaign for the support carers deserve.
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