Making it real for carers – Durham carers’ experiences of personalisation

elderly couple holding hands

A while back, a document called Making it Real was published. Carers as well as people who use  services were involved in producing it, but for me,  I feel we need to put this into the context of what needs to be done to support carers themselves to make sure they have choice and control too. So last week I was with Durham County Carers Support and a group of amazing carers to talk about personalisation and what Making it Real means for them.

Personalisation – for people who get support from their local authority in England –can mean being able to choose the kind of care you want, when you want it, and provided by the right person. Carers said it can work – for example the carer who has had a service from Crossroads Care for years but their contract came to an end locally, so she got a direct payment to keep employing the same worker. It was brilliant to hear that so many people had positive experiences of Crossroads Care, as well as Durham County Carers.

However, it wasn’t the whole story. Most carers who had a direct payment said the paperwork involved had been  fearsome.  Some said it has taken six months or more for their direct payment to be sorted out, leaving them in limbo all that time. Time delays may not mean much for professionals, but they leave carers stranded. And a number of carers said they just hadn’t been offered any choice at all, sometimes because there simply isn’t  anything to choose from.

Those carers who seemed to have had the worse time were those who had been transferred from a local authority budget onto NHS Continuing Care. This is supposed to make life easier – it means not having  to pay for care, apart from anything else. But the stories they told were awful. One told of how she had a package which was working well , but on transfer to NHS Continuing Care all that stopped.  They could no longer have any choice at all – they just had to take what they were offered, with a huge delay in getting things in place. The social care agencies they used to work with would no longer even give advice and just referred back to the NHS. Instead of helping, it’s made things much worse.

What came out loud and clear was the importance  of professionals really listening and acting on what they have heard. Carers were sick of being palmed off and excluded.

Carers also said they need properly trained and qualified care workers – ones they can depend on. They need to be able to provide the expertise and continuity that carers need to be reassured that the person they care for is safe.

I don’t think these things are much to ask for. Thank you to everyone from Durham for an excellent day last week. You really showed what would make it a bit more real for you.


November 2, 2012 - Posted by | Health, Individual Budgets, Social Care | , ,

1 Comment »

  1. A service that does not function properly is no help at all. WHY? WHY? WHY? can,t the goverment and the people of this country see this. Its 6:30am i have been up for abour 30 minutes and i am doing my wifea cup of tea. I am her CARER and i have been for the last 26 years. Yesterday we celebrated being 32 years,i cannot just stop doing whats needed or pass her on to someone else who does not want to help. In each of these blogs there are real people with real needs amd feelings and support is not a statistic or a balance sheet but a need that MUST be answred by CARING SOCIETY. When are the politicians and the people of this nation going to realise that the 6 million CARERS of this once caring nation has become a COLD HEARTED MACHINE


    Comment by Taras Kurylak | November 3, 2012 | Reply

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