Carers (health and wellbeing needs in South Tyneside)
- Unpaid Carers are an integral part of life. Unpaid Carers are holding families together, enabling loved ones to participate within the community whilst at the same time making an enormous contribution to society and saving the economy an estimated £132 billion per year.
- Recent polling published by Carers UK has suggested there could now be as many as 8.8 million carers in the UK, compared to 6.3 million carers recorded in the 2011 Census.
- People are living longer with illness or disability meaning there is a greater demand for care. Whether it is 24/7 or just a few hours per week, caring can have a huge effect on people and how we live our lives.
- Every day 6,000 people become carers. Many don't know how or where to get help which can be socially isolating and detrimental to health. Whether someone you love is taken ill or has an accident, or if your child is born with a disability, caring can creep up unexpectedly and encompass your life. [i]
- The shape and sustainability of our health and care system are understandably in the spotlight. Too often missing from this debate is the role family and friends play. It is frequently forgotten or, perhaps worse, taken for granted that the majority of care provided does not come from the NHS or from care homes. It comes in the form of unpaid care which relatives, friends and neighbours provide.
- As the future funding and service models needed in the health and social care system are debated, the support that unpaid carers need to provide care without putting their own lives on hold must be at the heart of these debates.[ii]
- Health and Social care staff are in a unique position to identify those who are in a caring role and direct them to support. This is a key priority for carers along with having the right information and equipment to enable them to care well and enabling them to benefit from regular breaks from caring. The recently published National Carers Action Plan sets out plans to develop quality standards for carer friendly GP practices in England and build on positive initiatives such as Carer Passports in hospitals and the work of John's Campaign.
- These initiatives are improving understanding of the needs of carers in some areas, and among hospital staff in particular, but an overarching duty across Local Authorities, reinforced within the NHS Five Year Forward View[iii], is to identify and support carers, which has the potential to embed consistent and systematic identification of carers.