Barbara has introduced a Bill calling for new measures to support carers.
“There are currently around 6 million carers in the UK, 175,000 of whom are children. These carers are all unpaid and too often go unnoticed and unappreciated. Their contribution to society is invaluable yet a carer’s own health can often be neglected as a result of their caring duties. In fact, 79% of carers agree that their health has been made worse by caring, yet only one third have had health checks.
“My Bill addresses this problem and aims to provide carers with some of the extra support they deserve and need”.
The Bill, which has support from MPs in all political parties, has two main strands. It calls firstly for GPs to identify patients who are carers and provide them with information about local support available to them. Secondly, it calls for schools to help identify young carers and put policies in place so that they too can access support.
"Helping to care for a parent or sibling can affect a child’s health and wellbeing, particularly as the vast majority of young carers don’t receive any help. In some areas children are being forced to take on too much responsibility and it is affecting their development. It is vital that they are identified early and receive support.
“If caring is placing a strain on them they may start to struggle with their schoolwork, feel misunderstood at school or become tired in class. It makes sense that schools should help to identify young carers because if a child’s health changes, it is at school where it will be noticed”.
Once a carer has been identified it is important that they receive help and support and the Bill contains several provision aimed at addressing this. One example of this is its call that it should be easier for working carers to coordinate doctor’s appointments around their working hours, making it easier for them to juggle work and caring.
“There are thousands of carers in my constituency of Worsley and right across the country who are not receiving the support they are entitled to. I want to make them a visible, rather than an invisible part of the care system. It is important that the NHS works around carers and that they aren’t taken for granted anymore”.