Today Public Health England published a new report ‘Caring as a social determinant of health: Findings from a rapid review of reviews and analysis of the GP Patient Survey’.
The report finds that carers are at increased risk of illness, and specifically musculoskeletal conditions, cardiovascular disease, generalised cognitive deterioration and function, and poor sleep. The report also finds that carers struggle to access services and are at risk of financial hardship.
Helen Walker, Chief Executive of Carers UK said
“Carers UK warmly welcomes the Public Health England report that explores the impact of caring on health. Although the work carried out was pre-pandemic, we know from our research that for many carers their health has further decreased as a result of caring in the Covid-19 pandemic.
The report provides further evidence that caring should be considered a social determinant of health, and caring needs to be factored in to any public health strategies locally, clearly and explicitly. The last year has shone a light on the extraordinary support unpaid carers have provided, but this has come at a cost with 58% of carers seeing their physical health worsen during the pandemic.
We would strongly encourage the Office for National Statistics to include caring as a factor within their forthcoming Health Index. We also support the conclusions that further research should be undertaken to fill the gaps in evidence identified in the report. Local authorities, service providers and research institutions should work together to build a picture of good practice that could improve the health and outcomes for carers.”