Being a carer can be costly in life chances, financial security and health. The Government recognises and values the contribution of carers. Carers embody the spirit of the Big Society.
Supporting carers’ well-being involves the key issues – employment, support, respite – that carers are likely to experience. The circumstances of every carer are unique, hence the need to personalise support to fit around individual and family preferences.
This report explains how the Coalition Government will work with carers and carers’ organisations. Carers should be supported as individuals and in their families and communities to help shape, develop and run local services, if they wish to be involved.
Particular challenges addressed by this report include:
- Carers need better and timely access to information about the illness or condition of the person for whom they are caring; about appropriate caring; about accessing benefits and other support; and about financial and employment issues.
- Carers can often feel excluded by clinicians and social services staff. Both health and social care professionals should respect, inform and involve carers more as expert partners in care.
- Carers find assessments overly bureaucratic, slow and unproductive.
- Carers often feel forced to give up work to care.
- Carers often neglect their own health and need advice to maintain their wellbeing.
- Carers need breaks.
- The value of Carer’s Allowance is inadequate.
- Young carers, in particular, need to be identified and supported.
Recognised, valued and supported: next steps for the Carers Strategy. London: Department of Health, Social Care, November 2010.