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Carers UK responds to Government's Plan for Patients

22 September 2022

The Secretary of State for Health and Social Care and Deputy Prime Minister, Rt Hon Therese Coffey MP, today set out the Government’s Plan for Patients, with the aim of ensuring people have easier access to NHS and social care, this winter and next. This includes a package of measures which the Government hope will improve access to general practice so all patients who need an appointment can get one within two weeks, with plans to free up over one million appointments per year. Alongside the Government’s plan, the public will be called on to do their bit as part of a “national endeavour” to support the NHS and social care.

Responding, Emily Holzhausen OBE, Director of Policy and Public Affairs, Carers UK said:

“We welcome elements of the Government’s plan to ensure that people are better able to arrange an appointment with their GP, and the additional £500m of funding that the Government has announced for social care. This will help ease some of the current pressures on the system, both at the point of hospital discharge and within the social care workforce. It will be important for the NHS and local authorities to work closely at local level to ensure this money ensures that support for unpaid carers is well embedded and funded.

Calling for a national effort, encouraging volunteers to come forward, might help to provide some lower levels of support that were valued during the pandemic. But this doesn’t solve the crisis that families are facing if they are providing unpaid care.

Unpaid carers have been providing unprecedented levels of care to the tune of £480 billion for their loved ones and they are exhausted and worn out. After today’s announcement they will be asking how their priorities for breaks, for recognition by the NHS, and for vital social care services are being met. As the NHS and social care face record levels of demand this winter, unpaid carers are under extreme pressure and don’t have the full package of support that they need and are still waiting for.

We had previously been encouraged by the Prime Minister’s intention to inject a further £13 billion into the system and we urge the Government to set out their proposals for sustainable reform, in full, at the earliest possible opportunity.

Having unpaid carers face exhaustion, burn out and putting them at risk of giving up work to care is a false economy. It stores up greater costs for the health and care system in the longer term, as well as making unpaid carers more financially vulnerable. The Government’s plan for funding social care better cannot come soon enough for families providing unpaid care.”

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