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What rights do carers have?

Caring can be all-consuming and it can be difficult to see what support you are legally entitled to as an unpaid carer. This section brings together key guidance and sources of support to help you:

  • recognise what your rights are
  • assert these rights in an effective way
  • take action when your rights and needs, or those of another, are not being met.

Carers’ rights and the support available for carers may differ depending on whether you live in England, Wales, Northern Ireland or Scotland. We indicate when information provided is different across the nations.

Live in Scotland? Find out more about your rights under the Carers (Scotland) Act 2016.

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Take a look at our Being Heard guides...  

Tailored to each UK nation, these guides provide a wide range of sources of support. They are designed to help anyone with caring responsibilities understand their rights and gain confidence to assert them with professionals including key decision makers.

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Are care standards living up to expectations? 

Whatever care services you're receiving, it is vital that they provide the quality you would expect to support your loved ones and friends. To find out more, visit our care standards page. 

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Making a complaint 

Sometimes, it feels as though there is no other option but to make a complaint, especially when it involves the welfare of someone close to you. We provide guidance on the best way to go about this. 

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What can I expect when someone is coming out of hospital?  

It can be a very stressful time when someone close to you has had to go into hospital. If they are looking to come home or leave, it may be that they have new needs and you are considering caring for them for the first time. We have guidance to support you through this.

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Seeking guidance or support from other carers who have been there?  

Our online Carers UK Forum is a great way to hear what other carers think of different ideas or to seek solutions to problems. It also offers the chance for you to 'offload' and get emotional support if your circumstances are becoming particularly tough.


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Your rights regarding employment

Find out about what your rights are and the support you should expect if you are caring whilst also employed.

Carers (Scotland) Act 2016

The Carers (Scotland) Act 2016 came into force on the 1st April 2018. The Act provides new rights to carers in a number of areas. These include:

  • a duty for local authorities to provide support to carers, based on the carer’s identified needs which meet the local eligibility criteria
  • a right to an adult carer support plan and young carer statement to identify your needs and personal outcomes. (This is available to carers of all ages, no matter how many hours of care they provide and whether or not the person they care for provides care)
  • a requirement for local authorities to have an information and advice service for carers which provides information and advice on, amongst other things, emergency and future care planning, advocacy, income maximisation and carers’ rights
  • a duty on the NHS to inform and involve you if the person you care for is discharged from hospital.

Download the Carers' Charter, which tells you all about the rights of carers under the Act. 

What to expect – The Carers (Scotland) Act

Our partner national carer organisation, the Coalition of Carers in Scotland have worked with a variety of carers, carer organisations and health and social care staff to co-design a set of leaflets for carers that set out what the new rights are and what to expect.

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