The Princess Royal Trust for Carers and Crossroads Care launched our campaign to Give Carers a Break in May and since then many Carers’ Centres and Crossroads Care schemes have been working hard with their local Primary Care Trust (PCT) to increase investment in support for carers. Primary Care Trusts and your local NHS, have been given £400m by Government to improve support for young and adult carers, but the money is not ring-fenced so can be spent on anything at all. We fear that many PCTs will choose to spend the money in areas other than supporting carers.
However, there are some PCTs who are showing that even in such tight financial times, increasing support should be a priority.
After working closely with Sunderland Carers, Sunderland Primary Care Trust are investing £630,000 this year for extra services to give carers the support they need and deserve. Penny Davison of Sunderland PCT explained that supporting carers was key to the care of people with disabilities and long-term illness when she said:
“We value and recognise the huge contribution carers make to caring for friends or relatives who may be disabled or seriously ill. We have seen the benefits that providing short breaks to carers can have on their health and wellbeing and are keen to ensure that carers can access a range of quality services that will support them in their caring role.”
Ailsa Martin, Chief Executive of Sunderland Carers’ Centre, has been instrumental in working with the PCT to put this plan together and believes more carers will get support earlier helping them to maintain their own wellbeing.
“We want to reach carers at any early stage, preventing unnecessary. This extra investment enables us to provide new services, including group breaks for isolated carers who may be didn’t take breaks previously because they had no one to go with.”
The NHS is facing tough times but Sunderland PCT has shown carers should be a priority. Using the money allocated to them by Government, they will help carers maintain their own health and that of the people they are caring for. The whole NHS needs to follow the lead of Sunderland PCT and Ailsa is right when she advises that “ Sunderland PCT and NHS South of Tyne and Wear should be applauded for their commitment to carers.”
Do leave comments about what is happening in your area, and whether there is something to applaud or something to be angry about. You can get involved in our Give Carers a Break campaign by sending letters to your MP or councillor asking them to make sure your PCT follows Sunderland’s lead.
Take care, and action (!)