Husband, Dad, Boyfriend, Grandad, Carer?

Our Policy & Campaigns Officer, Kirsty, explains why we have chosen to partner with the Men’s Health Forum on some important new research being undertaken about male carers…

41% of the UK’s carers are men. In older carers (aged over 75) the ratio of male to female carers is virtually equal with 50.4% of carers men, and in the over 85s 59% of carers are male.

Yet here at Carers Trust we often hear from our Network Partners that fewer men than women access their services and that they face challenges setting up male carers support groups. Continue reading


January 20, 2014 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , | 2 Comments

You’re in for a surprise!

I promise that I have an exciting side to me, but I love statistics. Even if statistics don’t provide the whole answer, they usually at lease signal the questions that need to be answered.

Good research can often challenge preconceptions and change what people think. They can challenge what we unquestioningly hold to be ‘common sense’.

The Health and Social Care Information Centre produce huge amounts of statistics on virtually everything related to health and social care, and I love them for it. They have recently released two sets of statistics that I think would surprise many people, and many even challenge our preconceptions.

So I want to put this to the test. Click on what you think is the right answer to the questions below and we will see what people think. Then on Wednesday 14th December, I’ll post the correct answers on this blog and we can compare reality versus what people think.

Trust me – it will be exciting!

These results are for people in England receiving social care support during between 1st April 2010 – 31 March 2011.

So, these questions look at what people who use social care think about it. But what about …

Which one do you think is the correct total?

And finally…

I hope you’re sharing my love of statistics, and I promise my post looking at the real results and what they mean on 14th December will be worth it!



December 9, 2011 Posted by | Social Care, Uncategorized | , , , | 3 Comments

NHS cannot avoid their duties to carers

The Government has made an immediate response to our ‘NHS Not Making the Break for Carers’ report by prioritising carers in the NHS Operating Framework for 2012/13. The Operating Framework is the set of requests given to the NHS by the Department of Health every year, guiding their priorities.

Following our report, the Government has said that carers is one of only three areas that have been designated as requiring “particular attention”. Think of all the illnesses, diseases, long-term conditions and medical issues the NHS is concerned with, and then consider what it means that carers are up there as the most important priority.

Of course, the reason that the NHS needs to pay “particular attention” is because they have not been doing enough to support carers, despite additional money and Government requests to do so. This Operating Framework is a sign that Health Ministers Paul Burstow and Andrew Lansley are losing their patience having been quite clear what they expected from the NHS in terms of supporting carers.

What they didn’t expect was that most Primary Care Trusts (PCTs – local NHS bodies) would not publish plans and budgets to support carers despite being asked to; and that some would continue not to invest a single pound in services to support carers, despite receiving additional money for this.

So for 2012/13, PCTs need to agree plans and budgets with local authorities and local carers’ charities. These plans should identify how much of the total is being spent on breaks and indicate the number of breaks that should be available from that funding. Importantly, PCTs have to publish these details on their websites by 30th September 2012 at the latest.

But we can’t wait until then to act. Carers and carers’ charities need to be contacting their local PCT now to find out how they will be improving on what they were doing this year. PCTs by ranking in terms of spending on services for carers and ask the non-Executive Directors of your PCT what they will do to improve that.

The NHS has a duty to those people who have often sacrificed so much to care for people, and they also have a duty of care to their patients who are otherwise being cared for by their friends and family. Our message should echo that of the Government’s; the NHS can no longer avoid their duty to carers.

Take care

November 30, 2011 Posted by | Health | , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Social care must be a priority for Labour

The big announcement from the Labour party conference was by Ed Balls regarding a commitment not to reverse the cuts of the current Government. What this actually means for future spending are not wholly clear, but probably means Labour will present a similar overall spending plan to the Tories at the next election.

Balls’ message disappointed some, but as I’ve argued a few times, there is still plenty of Government spending – £680bn p/a – so reprioritising what we invest in is a real option. And Labour seem to be indicating that they are prepared to do so.

As I heard from shadow Ministers John Healey MP, Emily Thornberry MP (both Health) and Barbara Keeley MP (Communities and Local Government), Labour would implement the Dilnot recommendations if they were in power. Furthermore, Labour are keen to work with the current Government to do so now.

Funding Dilnot’s recommendations for improving social care, must not come from further cuts to existing local government and communities spending. Indeed, we would want to see funding for communities and local government increase. I find it strange that Cameron professes it to be his number one priority yet spending on communities and local government received a larger cut than anybody else. The message I heard from some people at the Labour conference was that such funding is essential for councils and council funded groups to help isolated people engage with their community.

Conservative MP, Stephen Dorrell was also at the conference in a lively debate regarding current health care reforms with Labour shadow Minister, John Healey MP. Healey thinks the reforms could mean competition rules would hamper collaboration between providers of services harming patient care. Dorrell, while agreeing with Healey on many things, disagrees on this believing that competition law would not apply and that even if it did you could still have joined-up services. The example he gave was of supermarkets all offering joined up services (all those different types of clothes, food, white products etc) whilst operating under competition law.

Interestingly, Healey also said that Andrew Lansley has got his priorities wrong. He said it was not health care that needs reform but social care and that this should have been the priority. Emily Thornberry MP repeated this theme telling us that the health reforms were distracting focus from where changes did need to be made.

If the Government have got their priorities wrong, Labour must show what they would do to put it right.

Take care


PS: Vote to help Crossroads Care Chorley & South Ribble win £6000

September 28, 2011 Posted by | Health, Labour, Social Care | , | Leave a comment

What Can the Government Do to Help You?

You may be glad to hear that after spouting forth recently, not even one opinion will be spouted by me in this blog. I want you to spout instead.

In November or December, the Government will outline how they will try support carers between 2011 and 2015. But until 20th September, we all have the chance to influence their thinking. The Princess Royal Trust for Carers and Crossroads Care will be submitting a response and we’re both keen to hear your thoughts and opinions.

The Government have split their plans into five areas and I want your ideas on what you think the Government could do to help you (or carers generally):

  1. Be respected as expert care partners and have access to personalised services they need to support them in their caring role
  2. Have a life of their alongside their caring role
  3. Be supported so that they care not forced into financial hardship by their caring role (NB benefits are being considered as part of another consultation and not this one, which I’ll come to in a later blog, so it would be more useful to focus on other things here)
  4. Be supported to stay mentally and physically well and treated with dignity.
  5. Children and young people will be protected from inappropriate caring and have the support they need to learn, develop and thrive, to enjoy positive childhoods and to achieve against all the Every Child Matters outcomes

So, flood me with comments and it would be great if you could explain to me why you think the Government should prioritise what you’re suggesting, rather than other areas. And also why it would help achieve one of the five aims outlined above.

Thanks folks


August 27, 2010 Posted by | Budget, Carers Strategy, David Cameron, Health, Mental Health, Social Care, Young carers | , , , , , , , , , | 41 Comments