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Statement from the Assembly All Party Group (APG) on Carers: [1]

The All Party Group on Carers is deeply concerned about the worsening pressures facing our unpaid carer population. Despite saving the public purse billions of pounds each year, local people providing unpaid care for sick or disabled family members or friends are being left to struggle through with little-to-no support – picking up the pieces of a crumbling Health and Social Care system with limited breaks or help to look after their own wellbeing.

On 25 January the APG on Carers held its first meeting of the year, taking stock of the increasing challenges that local carers have been grappling with. It was a stark conversation, highlighting in particular:

  • The continued barriers that unpaid carers are facing to accessing day services and respite provision – severely disrupted since the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic and yet to return to full pre-pandemic levels.

  • The severe shortage of social/community care packages across Health Trust areas and the additional care burden this is putting on unpaid carers.

  • New hospital discharge policies and the public pressure applied on family members and friends to take on new or increased unpaid caring roles to help free up hospital beds.

  • The insufficient physical, psychological and emotional support services available to unpaid carers.

  • The compounding effect of the cost of living crisis on the stress and pressure facing the unpaid carer population.

The current situation is leaving our unpaid carers on their knees, with many long past the point of burnout and in need of urgent support. The APG on Carers is therefore calling on the UK Government to properly fund our health service and for immediate action from the Department of Health and all Health and Social Care Trusts – with intervention to relieve the pressure on unpaid carers, properly recognise the contribution they make and provide the support they so desperately need.

Signed on behalf of the APG on Carers by:

Colm Gildernew MLA – Chair, APG on Carers

Deborah Erskine MLA – Vice Chair, APG on Carers



Notes to editors

  1. The All Party Group on Carers is made up of 16 MLAs from across the Assembly. It works to raise awareness of the role of unpaid carers and ensure public policy from all Executive departments positively impacts on their lives. Carers NI provides secretariat support for the group. For more information see:
  2. Carers NI is Northern Ireland’s membership charity for unpaid carers. We work to represent and support the over 220,000 people in Northern Ireland who provide unpaid care for ill, older or disabled family members or friends – fighting for increased recognition and support for all carers and to ensure they have a voice in policymaking.
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