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Raising awareness of carers rights will improve support

Posted by: , Posted on: - Categories: Care and support, Carers strategy, Guest author

As Carers Trust CEO, Gail Scott-Spicer was delighted to see the Care Act, and the Children and Families Act come into force in 2015. As our Carers Strategy call for evidence enters its final weeks, Gail reflects on this consolidation of new and existing rights and how she and her organisation continue to work with government and sector partners to improve carer support.

Gail Scott-Spicer: 'More practitioners need to understand that a carer’s right to support is independent of the person they care for.'
Gail Scott-Spicer: 'More practitioners need to understand that a carer’s right to support is independent of the person they care for.'

The two Acts together give carers such important new and consolidated rights. We’d worked hard with colleagues in the voluntary sector, in Whitehall and in Parliament to make sure that this legislation was the best it could possibly be for carers.

We were concerned however, about whether these new rights will have the impact on the ground for carers that we all hope for.

This is why we formed a commission to find out how the Care Act is working for carers, a year on. Working with the panel, we held oral evidence days with experts (including our Network Partners – local carers support services), and heard from over 800 people in a survey (including over 600 carers).

The report Care Act for carers: One year on published 4 July 2016 showed that there are some carers who are getting good support under the Care Act, and that there is reason to continue to be optimistic about the potential of the Act.

It is the only time in the year when I am asked about me … Having that opportunity and someone who understands, without me explaining has meant something. A carer

The “Good practice box” we published as part of the appendices to the report shows examples my fellow panel members and I were particularly interested in. These include a partnership between Coventry City Council and Carers Trust Heart of England, at Coventry Central Library.

Raising awareness of carers needs, not just their rights is vital
From Carers Trust: Raising awareness of carers needs, not just their rights, is vital

This helps more carers by identifying them and offering support with their caring role, putting them in touch with local third sector services who can help, as well as providing an everyday, non-stigmatising, location to talk to carers. We know that too many carers don’t see themselves as carers.

This adds to the solutions already being developed, collated in NHS England’s excellent Carers Toolkit.

It’s also fair to say that the new rights aren’t being felt everywhere yet, and of course it’s early days after such a major piece of legislation. Our report found too many carers were unaware of their rights. More practitioners need to understand that a carer’s right to support is independent of the person they care for.

Young carers and parent carers need to be properly supported at transition and during assessment. Local authorities need support to implement prevention, personalisation and market-shaping for carers.

The new Carers Strategy will play an important part in improving carers’ support, and we want to work with colleagues in national and local government – who we know share Carers Trust’s vision of a better reality for unpaid carers - to make sure that in challenging times, support for carers is the best it can be.

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  1. Comment by sylvia kellatte posted on

    my husband has alzheimers and cant sit for long and trys to get out most of the time.
    he does go one day to a day centre which helps but thy are unable to take him just for a second
    day as thy haven't got the staff and thy cant make shore he can not get out
    all we are looking not and one to one but some were he can not get out safe but staff speak to him time to time his gone back to speaking a lot of greek we live in hoddesdon Hertfordshire
    regards Sylvia

  2. Comment by Mark Brightburn posted on

    Excellent work Gail and team, and NHS on the toolkit, all paving the way for the Carers Strategy to pick up from. This will need to identify further measures to accelerate urgent and co-ordinated universal improvement ON THE GROUND, consistently across the whole country, so that ALL carers won't then need to 'start from scratch' on this in building up the currently fragmented 'care-jigsaw' for themselves. Local authority support seems critical. Many of the pieces seem to be there (all I don't know), they're just scattered around and need serious sorting out. Suggest we start with the edge pieces...(!)