Responding to the Queen's Speech on 11th May 2021, Helen Walker, Chief Executive of Carers UK, said:
“Until this Government sets out concrete measures for social care reform the reality for millions of families is that they have no choice but to take on more and more care for their older or disabled relatives, costing them their livelihoods, relationships and at the expense of their own physical and mental health.
“Unpaid carers couldn’t be clearer: they are worn out and overwhelmed. 81% have been providing more care for relatives during the pandemic and 64% haven’t been able to take any breaks whatsoever. A huge majority (78%) have seen their loved ones’ health deteriorate.
“Without England’s millions of unpaid carers our health and social care systems would have collapsed in the last year. Carers desperately need a light at the end of the tunnel. Whilst Government has committed to social care reform proposals being brought forward, this must be delivered without any further delays. We need to see detailed plans for reform that make sure unpaid carers get the practical and financial support they need to care.”
On the Health and Care Bill:
“We were shocked that the NHS White Paper failed to mention unpaid carers at all and Government cannot not miss the opportunity again to recognise carers. Carers must be a core part of the upcoming bill. Carers UK wants to see a duty on the NHS to have regard to unpaid carers and to promote their health and wellbeing, to ensure carers are systematically identified, supported, and included throughout the NHS. Integration across health and social care can only work if unpaid carers are visible, recognised, and counted.”
“We are disappointed that the Government has failed to bring forward the Employment Bill included in the 2019 Queen’s Speech and their manifesto commitment to introduce Carer’s Leave. With an ageing population and the impact of the pandemic on families, more of us will become unpaid carers at some point in our lifetime and we must put in place measures that ensure people can juggle work and care. We are still waiting for the Government response to the consultation on Carer’s Leave and need to see concrete plans about how this will be taken forward.”