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Preventing Crisis for Scotland’s Carers – So where do we go next?

Note: This is the final of the three-part blog post by Lynn Williams, the Policy Officer for Scotland at The Princess Royal Trust for Carers.

Well, for an initial investment of just £1 million, this project directly supported over 3,000 unpaid carers – it would cost at least £30 million to replace the care they provide if they remained unsupported in their caring role.  That’s a pretty significant return on the initial investment. To top that, the support workers trained and worked directly with some 4,000 health and social care professionals.  Bear in mind that the budget for NHS Education Scotland sits at just under £400 million alone.

The project recommendations highlight the need for more effective working between health and social care and unpaid carers are the lynchpin of the overall support and service delivery infrastructure.  We have been fighting for political parties to recognise and deliver clear policy commitments which ensure unpaid carers are recognised and better supported and there is no doubt that the Moffat work will help us demonstrate the value of doing this.

The £70 million Change Fund outlined in the draft budget could be used to drive real change in discharge planning and in improving how professionals and services are planned and delivered.  It will be focussed on helping health and social care services work together to maximise people’s independence and wellbeing.  Those involved in planning how this Fund will be spent – in a year – could begin by looking at the outcomes of the Moffat project and the impact that dedicated carer support workers had at local level.

And yet, recent press coverage in the Herald suggests that things will go backwards rather than forwards. Local authority plans may well decimate social care and carer support services in Scotland. How shortsighted – and in the long run, this will be far more costly for statutory services. Any permanent benefit and changes in working practices which Moffat achieved may well be undone.

Unpaid carers have been there when paid care workers couldn’t get to their clients; they continue to provide care no matter what the weather. Small investments such as the £1 million invested in the infrastructure by the Moffat Charitable Trust can make a huge difference and save money in these tough times.  That’s a message we will ask all politicians to take on board in the coming months.

To all carers and families out there, seasons greetings and all the very best for 2011.

Lynn

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December 21, 2010 - Posted by | Benefits, Budget, Carers Strategy, Scotland | , , , ,

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