A new Private Members Bill put forward by Barbara would help to ensure that young people who give care to sick and disabled family members receive adequate support from local authorities.
This could help to avert tragedies such as the recent case of Deanne Asamoah - a 13-year-old girl who died from an overdose of morphine. It later emerged she had been caring for her terminally ill mother for four years.
“There are currently around 6 million carers in the UK, 175,000 of whom are children. Carers’ own needs often go unnoticed . Carers’ contribution to health and social care is invaluable yet a carer’s own health can often be neglected as a result of their caring duties. In fact, 79% of carers say that their health has been made worse by caring, yet only one third have had health checks.
“My Bill addresses this problem and also aims to provide young carers with some of the extra support they deserve and need. Young carers are the most hidden of carers.”
The Bill, which has support from MPs in all political parties calls for schools to help identify young carers and put policies in place so that they too can access support. It also calls for GPs to identify patients who are carers and provide them with information about local support available to them.
“Taking on the responsibility of caring for a parent 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 that the parent receives appropriate support.
“Identifying hidden young carers is crucial. 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”.
“There are many young carers in my constituency of Worsley and many thousands 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 with young carers and that they aren’t taken for granted anymore”.