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Crunch time for MPs to commit to carers

HRH The Princess Royal and Care Services Minister Phil Hope

HRH THe Princess Royal joined MPs from the three main parties at the roundtable event

You cannot change the quality of care in this country without respecting carers and improving the support they receive. This was the simple message delivered to the three political parties at yesterday’s conference on carers. The response we were seeking was what each party would pledge to do for carers in the next Parliament…

Care Services Minister Phil Hope focussed more on what the Government had done in this Parliament to increase support for carers, and there have been improvements: £25m training and employment support for carers; recent £1m investment in young carers’ services; new credit scheme to help carers build up pensions; and a national helpline and website for carers.

But the big moment came when he put himself on the line in response to our report “No Breaks for Carers” on PCTs not supporting carers – “I will personally hold PCTs to account for the carers’ money they will receive but do not spend on carers and will keep going until they do spend the money on carers” (read the full story here).

It’s not often that politicians make a personal pledge like this. Eyes darted around the room to see reactions.

Shadow Health Minister Stephen O’Brien did not give detail but pinpointed two issues that he wants to tackle: carers losing Carer’s Allowance when earning over £100p/w and when they begin receiving a State Pension. O’Brien restated that the Conservatives would retain Attendance Allowance and Disability Living Allowance and that indeed his parent’s in law rely on AA. He also said that the Conservatives would announce a policy to improve care in the home to accompany their residential care policy, and that they wanted to extend flexible working for carers.

Liberal Democrat Chief Whip Paul Burstow

Under Lib Dem plans carers would be able to receive a personal budget and choose what to spend it on

Liberal Democrat Chief Whip Paul Burstow expanded on his party’s pledge to commit £500m p/a to carers. Carers would be able to receive a personal budget, for example of £510, and could choose what to spend it on. Lib Dems would act upon the Work & Pensions Commons Select Committee report (August 2008) which recommended increasing Carer’s Allowance.

Burstow also agreed with a carer who spoke later that carers must be a higher priority for the NHS – not a Tier 3 lowest priority giving the NHS the option to support carers or not; carers have to be a “must do” for the NHS. He finished by praising his local Sutton Carers’ Centre which he said had “educated him” about wide range of carers’ needs and issues.

Two carers spoke and gave their recommendations which included making GPs improve their identification of carers, and the RCGP representative agreed they would continue to raise the profile of carers amongst GPs. Tory MP carers campaigner in Parliament, Tony Baldry, suggested that a voluntary register of carers would prompt all professionals to ask if people had caring roles and then people could have an annual review to ensure they were receiving support.

What found universal agreement was an approach that saw everybody in health and social care informing, advising and supporting carers as part of their role. This responsibility cannot be passed to a few appointed individuals within organisations or there will still be too many carers ignored, isolated and in danger of failing health themselves.

We presented questions from carers, including a one asking the MPs if they would like to be a carer for the day. The MPs declined, which goes to show how much harder we have to work to improve the lives of carers.

Take care,

Gordon

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March 10, 2010 - Posted by | Building Society to Care roundtable | , , , , ,

3 Comments »

  1. I must say i was im pressed by the fine sounding words of the poloticians,but what good are words about provision of help and support without substance

    1) ” carers credit scheme”- this is the first time i have ever heared of this, POOR COMMUNICATION AGAIN.
    2)But the big moment came when he put himself on the line in response to our report “No Breaks for Carers” on PCTs not supporting carers – “I will personally hold PCTs to account for the carers’ money they will receive but do not spend on carers and will keep going until they do spend the money on carers” –

    Comment by Taras Kurylak | March 11, 2010 | Reply

  2. What good are fine sounding words without substance or the will to see through real changes. Not only do the politicians but also the country need to realise and act to do some thing about the plight of CARERS.

    ” Care Services Minister Phil Hope focussed more on what the Government had done in this Parliament to increase support for carers, and there have been improvements: £25m training and employment support for carers; recent £1m investment in young carers’ services; new credit scheme to help carers build up pensions; and a national helpline and website for carers. “,this is the firts time i have heared of such a scheme. Again lack of communication is hampering the vital work of CARERS and the support they need!!!!!!

    ” But the big moment came when he put himself on the line in response to our report “No Breaks for Carers” on PCTs not supporting carers – “I will personally hold PCTs to account for the carers’ money they will receive but do not spend on carers and will keep going until they do spend the money on carers ” my loacl PCT spent the money allocated for CARERS BREAKS to plug holes in there BUDGET because the money was not RING FENCED. As a CARER thiis means nothing to me,except that the NHS and the GOVERMENT realy do not care about CARERS or the problems they have to deal with.

    ” Liberal Democrat Chief Whip Paul Burstow expanded on his party’s pledge to commit £500m p/a to carers. Carers would be able to receive a personal budget, for example of £510, and could choose what to spend it on. Lib Dems would act upon the Work & Pensions Commons Select Committee report (August 2008) which recommended increasing Carer’s Allowance. ” again fine sounding words without any promose of real change,gentlemen in the HOUSE OF COMMONS all need to spend a MONTH at least before they could even begin to understand the problems and difficulties that CARERS have to deal with.

    I HAVE BEEN A CARER FOR 22 YEARS AND WOULD STILL LIKE TO KNOW WHEN THE “CARERS ALLOWANCE” I AM SUPPOSED TO GET WILL NOT BE TAKEN OFF MY WIFE,S “INCOME SUPPORT”. AM I NOT ENTITLED TO AN ALLOWNACE JUST FOR ME WITHIOUT STRINGS ATTATCHED !?
    LAST YEAR CARERS IN THIS COUNTRY SAVED BOTH THE GOVERMENT AND THE COUNTRY £87 BILLION POUNDS,IN THST PEROID OF TIME BILLIONS HAVE BEEN SPENT AND MADE AVAILABLE TO SUPPORT THE BANKS – PROSECUTE A WAR I AFGHANISTAN AND IMPROVE MP,S SALARY,S AND PENSIONS.

    HOW ABOUT SPARING SOME OF THE THOSE BILLIONS FOR THE
    6 MILLION CARERS IN THIS COUNTRY.

    AS A ” CARERS REP ” IN GLOUCESTER I LOOK FOWARD TO THE REPLY FROM THE MP,S

    signed a DISILLUSIONED BUT DETERMINED CARER.

    Comment by Taras Kurylak | March 11, 2010 | Reply

    • ” CARERS REP ” IN GLOUCESTER
      I am also a Carer Rep from Gloucestershire and I was at the meeting. I think a conversation with Carers Glos would give a better idea of what took place.
      Regrettably the MP’s filled an hour of the meeting. The Lib Dem being the most practical and understandable. Her Royal Highness Princess Royal started and summed up the meeting. She spoke superbly on Carers needs and showed considerable understanding of our situation at home and in work.

      NHS Gloucestershire is one of the best performing PCT’s in relation to Carers Respite & Services the money allocated went into what the Government intended. I was one Carer who benefited from the injection of money. The first time I have ever received any funding. I have been a Carer for 33 years. I was given the opportunity when my Carers Emergency Scheme card was updated a year after I was accepted. The Card is such a relief to me knowing that people can be contacted to help my husband should anything happen to me.

      Comment by Daphne Sanderson | March 17, 2010 | Reply


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