Government outlines support stratergy for carers

A multi-million pound package of support for carers was unveiled by Ivan Lewis, minister for Care Services.

Formally launching details of the Government's New Deal for Carers, Ivan
Lewis announced a range of measures designed to recognise the essential work
that carers carry out across the country, including:

  • £25 million to be spent on providing short-term home based respite care for carers in crisis or emergency situations in every council;
  • £3 million towards the establishment of a national helpline for carers;
  • a wide ranging review of the 1999 national carers strategy;
  • £5 million to support the development of an experts carers programme.

Ivan Lewis, minister for Care Services said:

"Millions of people in this country are hidden heroes who keep families together through their support and devotion. Our carers often provide care24 hours a day, 7 days a week, taking on that precious role that enables a friend or family member to stay at home and live with the dignity, independence and security the rest of us take for granted.

"This army of carers do not want to give away their family
responsibilities. Equally, they want Government and local services on their side ensuring the necessary care and support is available to maintain their family's quality of life.

"I am delighted by Gordon Brown's announcement today that he will be launching a country-wide consultation with carers and voluntary organisations to update the 1999 Carers' Strategy.  This update to the Carers' Strategy will build on the strong foundations we've established over the past ten years, including
the introduction of the carers' grant, the right to request flexible working and our intention to shortly introduce the carers' pension credit.

"I am also announcing today the New Deal for Carers', a package of support and services which has the potential to radically improve the quality of life for carers, empowering them with information and skills, and most importantly, putting them back in control."

"We have considerable evidence that lack of proper planned alternative care in the event of anything untoward happening to carers, is one of the most important factors in limiting their freedom to have a life of their own.
This is why from this summer we will be providing an additional £25 million to local authorities to ensure that short term, home-base respite support is established in each council to cover crisis or emergency situations."

The second practical step will be to develop an advice line for carers-good information is essential.

"Often carers don't choose their new role; it happens by chance and quite suddenly, a person finds themselves as the frontline support to a friend or family member. The carer's helpline will provide an easily accessible, single point of contact for carers to source advice and information on issues ranging from their legal entitlements through to the availability of local services. "

The Department of Health is currently working up a specification with carers organisations and will let the contract later this year.

The third element is the £5 million Expert Carers programme.  The programme will provide a service to meet the personal needs of carers, that is carers rights, stress management, services for carers, information for carers, communication skills, advocacy; and as well as skills to care as safely and effectively and possible, such as moving & handling, first aid,
medication. This programme will be launched later this year.

Chief Executive of Carers UK, Imelda Redmond, said:

"We strongly welcome Gordon Brown's announcement today that there will be a wide ranging consultation across the country, involving carers and voluntary organisations to shape the new national carers' strategy. This will ensure the strategy is rooted in carers' real concerns and priorities.

"The New Deal for Carers is a golden opportunity to tackle the issues which really matter to carers. The government has recognised that, despite progress in recent years, carers are still missing out on opportunities because of their caring role, and yet they contribute a huge amount to society.

"A cross-government approach, championed at the highest level, is needed to address the difficult issues facing carers and society. How do we juggle work and care, what support do we offer carers to find suitable services for themselves and the people they care for, how can we improve the health
and well-being of carers? We need a visionary strategy which sets the agenda for the next decade. "

Posted by, Asif Yusuf



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