Barbara has welcomed the Government’s announcment of a Government package of extra support for carers.
Barbara has been appointed as Carers Week Parliamentary Champion for 2007 and she has a strong record of support for carers issues. Last year, Barbara put forward a Private Members Bill, calling on GPs or Primary Care Trusts to identify those patients who are carers, and to ensure that they receive the necessary support and adviceand access to appropriate healthcare.
Formally launching details of the Government’s New Deal for Carers, the Minister with responsibility for Carers, Ivan Lewis MP, announced a range of measures designed to support carers, including:
£25 million to enable councils to provide short-term home based respite care for carers in crisis or emergency situations in every council
£3 million to establish a national helpline for carers;
£5 million to support the development of an expert carers programme.
In addition, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, Gordon Brown, has announced that there will be a country-wide consultation involving carers and voluntary groups, to update the existing National Carers’ Strategy.
"Every one of the carers I have met is an inspiration and refutes a wide spread cynicism that in today's society selfishness matters more than service to others. And having listened to their stories and the challenges they face, I know we must and will do more in the years to come to help.”
Following the announcement, Barbara said:
“The announcement of the New Deal for Carers is important news for carers in Greater Manchester, and across the country. 1 in 10 adults is a carer and I have met many local people who have caring responsibilities - I know the difference that they make.
“Our local carers groups do an excellent job, and I would encourage anyone with caring responsibilities to contact them for advice and support. However, time and time again, I meet people who struggle to provide care, often at the expense of their own health, but who have no idea of the support that is available to them. The setting-up of a well-publicised, national advice line is a major step in the right direction, as good advice is essential.
“The extra money for respite care is particularly important for older carers, who may suffer health problems of their own, although all carers should be able to take a break if they need to. The Expert Carers programme recognises that carers often have expert knowledge of the condition of the person they care for and will support them in developing and using that knowledge.
“As Parliamentary Champion for Carers I will continue to press for carers issues to be championed at the highest levels of Government, and for more additional support to be made available for carers. I am pleased that the Government is listening to carers, and I look forward to seeing the benefits of the New Deal for Carers across Greater Manchester.”
Following the announcement, Dawn O’Rooke, the manager of Salford Carers Centre said:
“The launch of this initiative is an acknowledgement that current levels of funding are insufficient to meet present and predicted demand for carers' services and as such is to be applauded. The contribution that carers make to society is equivalent to a second NHS, and informal unpaid carers are the largest providers of care in the country.
“We at the Princess Royal Trust Salford Carers Centre know that carers will welcome the £25m funding for emergency respite care. Additionally the funding for a national helpline for carers and the development of a carer training programme is a recognition of the support that carers need in order to continue to be able to care. Many give up an income, future employment prospects and pension rights to become a carer.
“The majority of carers struggle alone and do not know that help is available to them and one in five - or 1.2 million - carers spend over 50 hours a week on their caring responsibilities. Carers are a vital part of the whole health and social care system - they are there, day-in day-out and often their own health suffers.
“We are re-assured that the invaluable contribution carers make to our society is being recognised."