Barbara is urging better support for carers.
The 2001 Census showed that the number of carers in Salford who were caring for more than fifty hours a week was 24%, which was more than twice the national figure of 10%. Now new figures released by the NHS Information Centre show that the number of carers nationally who are caring for more than 50 hours a week has doubled in the last ten years. This means that the numbers of full-time carers in Salford is also likely to be much higher than earlier records show.
Barbara spoke recently in a Westminster debate of the need to give better support to carers. She identified key issues for carers as better access to respite care, better financial support and making sure young carers get support so that they do not have a heavy burden of caring.
“We have known for some time that, in Worsley and Eccles South and across Salford, the number of unpaid carers who are caring for fifty or more hours per week was more than double the national average. We know that such heavy caring roles have a big impact on carers’ own health and finances. It also restricts the carers’ ability to have a life outside of caring. Now new figures show that the trend we have seen here is also repeated nationally. Next year’s Census will tell us if the number of full-time carers has also doubled in Salford.
"I have expressed my concerns to the Minister for Care Services that the Government’s planned changes to benefits will hit carers and this should not be happening. Changing the way that Carers Allowance is up-rated could cost carers £130 a year by the end of this Parliament. Carers could also lose their benefits if the person they care for becomes not eligible for Disability Living Allowance under the new medical assessment brought in by the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats.. I agree with those carers organisations who say it is time for a rethink on how we support those carers who shoulder the heaviest caring responsibilities in our communities. . However difficult the economic situation is, we must ensure that carers are protected from cuts and that we work to improve the local services they need.
"To help and support carers we first need to identify them. On July 14th I plan to introduce into Parliament a Bill to highlight the need for GPs and schools to identify carers so that they can be given help and support. We are lucky in Salford to have The Princess Royal Trust for Carers who run excellent projects within primary care and schools locally to identify carers and then to offer them support. I would like to see these projects getting better support so that they can extend the work, with more GPs and schools being involved."