On Tuesday 10th June at the Oriel within the Senedd, Hafal and the Carers Alliance Wales hosted a one day event to celebrate Carers Week 2008. The Deputy Minister for Health and Carers Champion for Wales Gwenda Thomas AM launched the event and announced her priorities for Carers in the coming year. Jenny Randerson AM and Helen Mary-Jones AM also spoke of their support for carers in Wales.
The theme for this year’s Carers Week is “Carers can’t afford to be ill”. The results of the Carers Week survey of 2,000 carers throughout the UK highlights just what effect caring can have, especially regarding health, relationships, career and finances. Key findings include:
• 77% of carers feel that their health is worse as a result of the strain of caring
• 95% say they regularly cover up the fact that their health is suffering in order to continue with their caring responsibilities
• 19% say they ignore feeling ill “all the time”.
• 24% say they frequently feel unable to cope with day-to-day duties due to the physical and emotional stresses of their caring role.
For more information on the survey and on Carers Week activities, visit: www.carersweek.org
UK Government promises more investment in carers
Earlier this week the UK Government announced that it plans to invest an extra £150 million to double the amount of respite time available to carers in England.
The announcement came with the publication of the new carers’ strategy that sets out the Government’s short-term agenda and long-term vision for the future care and support of carers. In total the carers’ strategy is underpinned by £255 million to implement some immediate steps alongside with medium and long-term plans.
New commitments in the carers’ strategy include £38 million towards supporting carers to enter or re-enter the job market and £6 million towards improving support for young carers. Other schemes include the piloting of annual health checks for carers to help them stay well and training for GPs to recognise and support carers.
Commenting on the strategy, Roz Williamson, Director of Carers Wales, expressed her disappointment that the opportunity to improve carers’ benefits has not been grasped.
“We acknowledge that a full review of carers’ benefits has been promised. However we are disappointed that the Government has been unable to offer immediate financial help. Many carers will be frustrated that they will have to wait again for the financial help they desperately need. We will be asking the Government to begin the review immediately.
“We do however welcome the vision set out by this Strategy as it reflects what carers have told us. Carers should have a life of their own, should not be forced into financial hardship and should be treated with dignity and respect.
“Carers in Wales want better services for the people they look after, time off from caring and information and support. We hope that any additional funding that comes to Wales as a result of this new strategy will be used to make lasting improvements in the lives of the 350,000 carers in Wales. “
To read the carers’ strategy, click here.