Barbara has urged the Conservative Government to do more to ensure that carers get the support they need from public bodies. She was speaking at the launch of a report which found that many local authorities were not complying with the Care Act in the way that they assess and respond to carers’ needs. Many were also found to define their duties in a narrow way, meaning that young carers did not receive the support they needed.
The report entitled “Care Act for Carers: One Year On” shows that, since its introduction in 2014, the Care Act is not working as well as it should be.
Speaking at an event in Parliament, Barbara said that the Care Act was supposed to put carers on an equal footing with those whom they care for. The Act placed a duty on Local Authorities to provide assessments and support for carers. However the report by the Carers Trust shows that many carers are not seeing the benefits of the new law.
The report found that nearly 7 out of 10 of carers who responded to a survey for the report noticed no difference in the support available since the introduction of the Care Act. Some carers were even unaware that new rights were in place for carers.
Barbara told the launch event that unpaid family carers provide the bulk of care and that the Care Act could be making a difference to the quality of their lives. She said that too many carers are left to cope on their own with little or no support.
“In Worsley and Eccles South there are 11,000 unpaid family carers. It is essential that they are recognised as having their own specific needs so that they can receive the help and support they deserve.
“Worryingly, the report by the Carers Trust shows that the Care Act is not working as well as it should. Chronic underfunding of social care and Conservative Government cuts to local authority budgets are the main reasons behind this disappointing result. It is unrealistic to think that local authorities can improve the services offered to carers and invest in innovation when they are struggling to fund services to meet immediate needs for care and support.
“As well as helping local authorities to provide support, it is crucial that the Government ensures that more is done to identify carers. That is why I am calling on Ministers to ensure that their future Carers Strategy includes a duty on GPs and NHS bodies to identify carers.
“The Government must act now to provide the help and support that carers in Salford and across the country need and to make sure they receive the services to which they are entitled.”