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Unpaid carers gain new rights as Health and Care Act 2022 introduced

  • Carers UK highlights new rights for carers on the 74th anniversary of the NHS

New NHS Integrated Care Boards are now in force across England (since 1 July) and carry new duties making them responsible for involving carers and those they care for in decision-making. Carers now have to be involved when decisions are made about changing or developing a service and there is an expectation of involvement in relation to the patient’s prevention, treatment, diagnosis and care.

Carers also have important new rights at hospital discharge. NHS hospital trusts in England must ensure that unpaid carers are involved as soon as feasible when plans for a patient’s discharge after treatment are being made. This covers all carers of adults needing care and support following hospital discharge, including health care support. 

Carers UK was pleased that Government agreed that these new rights on hospital discharge should be included as other legislation was being repealed.

Helen Walker, Chief Executive of Carers UK said:

“We want to remind unpaid carers they now have stronger rights after this hard-fought win to ensure that they are involved as early as possible in discharge in particular. We were delighted that the Government considered this and listened to the strength of feeling about it from carers. Our evidence from carers showed how devastating hospital discharge can be where carers are not consulted, involved or given the right information and support to care safely and well.

“We look forward to working with the NHS to ensure that this is delivered well for carers.”

“These new rights are about making sure that carers are involved by the NHS strategically when decisions are being made about services and in relation to the person they are caring for. Unpaid carers are the backbone of our health and care system, whose support has been worth a staggering £193 billion a year during the pandemic.”

“The NHS involving unpaid carers means getting it right for everyone, improving health and wellbeing and outcomes. It can also save costly interventions down the line which everyone wants to avoid, particularly at a time when health and care services are so stretched.”

Read Carers UK’s current checklist for carers on coming out of hospital:

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