The 2000 Strategy and Implementation Plan for Carers
The Welsh Assembly Government launched its Carers’ Strategy in Wales and Implementation Plan in 2000, and backed it up with significant new money for Local Authorities to increase support and services for carers. The Strategy and Carers’ Grant are not specific to mental health but there they have led to an increased range of services across Wales specifically for carers of people with a mental illness.
The Strategy states that carers are people who look after family members or friends who need care, help or support. They are people caring after other adults, and parents caring for ill or disabled children. They can be young adults and teenagers aged 16 or 17. The Strategy recognises that there is not a typical carer and that caring often impacts on the whole family.
The objective of the Carers Strategy in Wales and Implementation Plan is to improve in the longer term the health and well-being of carers and those for whom they care.
The National Assembly’s five priority areas for action under the Strategy are:
- Health and Social Care – recognising the right of carers to have their own health and social care needs met, whether physical or emotional, and to offer greater help to achieve this,
- Information – emphasising the importance to carers, and their representative organisations, of the availability of information that is easily accessible, relevant and factually correct,
- Support – stimulating and encouraging a greater quality, diversity and flexibility of service provision to give carers the opportunity to have breaks from caring,
- Young Carers – making a commitment to address the complex and specific needs of young carers,
- Carers and Employment – recognising the importance to carers of continuing with work and paid employment, and helping and supporting them to do this.
Updating the Strategy – the 2007 Action Plan
The 2000 Strategy recognised that what carers want is:
• wellbeing of the person being cared for
• freedom to have a life of their own
• maintaining their own health
• confidence in services
• a say in service provision
and sought progress towards achieving this. However, more recently the Assembly Government has recognised that considerable further progress is still necessary and published the Carers’ Strategy for Wales – Action Plan 2007. The Action Plan restates that what carers want is:
- genuine involvements at all levels
- timely and appropriate practical and emotional help and support
- access to the right information at the right time
- “carer-proofing” policies that consider the impact of
government policies and practices on carers.
The Action Plan seeks to build on the positive developments since 2000 and to and to “re-focus the Carers’ Strategy” to deliver better outcomes for carers. The stated objectives are to seek to ensure that carers:
- are not disadvantaged as a consequence of fulfilling their caring responsibilities
- are listened to, treated with respect, and receive recognition for their important role
- are able to maintain as normal a life as possible outside of their caring role
- have timely access to an assessment of their own needs
- have access to services that will enable them to be properly supported
- are able to access employment, education and leisure opportunities.
The Action Plan focuses again on the five priority areas sets out in the 2000 Strategy and adds new action points for those areas. It also includes a commitment by the Assembly Government to consider further funding to meet the objectives of the Action Plan.
Hafal provides services for carers in all parts of Wales and can also refer you to other agencies. Further information: http://www.hafal.org/services/carers/