Barbara recently joined Prime Minister Gordon Brown and Health Secretary Alan Johnson at a carers consultation event in Leeds, organised by the Department of Health and Carers UK.
Barbara was invited to the event by Gordon Brown to listen to carers ideas on the review of the National Carers Strategy. The Leeds event was the final consultation event in a series which has been taking place across the country over the last few months.
Hosted by Imelda Redmond, Chief Executive of Carers UK, the carers and Parliamentarians discussed a variety of issues affecting carers, including benefits, access to health and social care services, flexible working and discrimination against carers.
The Prime Minister praised carers for their commitment and sacrifice under pressure, saying:
“Every one of you who is a carer is a hero – our society could not exist without you.”
Barbara, who is Vice-chair of the All Party Parliamentary Carers Group, echoed this praise. She said:
“Carers take on an enormous responsibility, which can affect them financially, physically and emotionally. They deserve our praise and our support, and they deserve to be heard which is why consultation events like this are so important. It gives carers the chance to share their experiences and talk about what can be done to make a difference to their lives.
As Vice-chair of the All Party Parliamentary Carers Group, I want to listen to the experiences of people in the care system and make sure adequate support is available to them. The Government is in the process of reviewing the whole system of social care, and this is a good opportunity to increase support for carers and give them more recognition for their contribution to our society.”
Prime Minister Gordon Brown greets carers, with Barbara and Health Secretary Alan Johnson in the background