Unpaid carers in Wales feel demoralised and disillusioned
Despite having rights in law, implemented in 2016, many unpaid carers are failing to receive the help and support they need to care
for loved ones.
Research published today by Carers Wales shows that many carers are oblivious to, or are having to fight for advice and support, despite having a legal right to a needs assessments, information, advice and assistance.
The evidence published from a survey of carers across Wales indicates that there is a postcode lottery of what carers can receive from their local authorities. This evidence is further reinforced from information requests sent to local authorities and local health boards which indicate a stark variation of carer services and support.
The unpaid carer population across Wales is expected to increase significantly in the coming years as Welsh Government policies and strategies such as ‘A Healthier Wales’ moves care closer to home. People are living longer with limiting health conditions and will need support from their families and friends. By 2037 it is estimated that the carer population will rise from 370,000 to over half a million. It is essential that Welsh Government, local authorities and health boards take immediate action now for current and future carers.
Claire Morgan, Director of Carers Wales commented
“Carers Wales has launched today its fourth ‘Track the Act’ report. Whilst we wholeheartedly support the intentions behind the Social Services and Well-being (Wales) Act 2016, the evidence we are presenting shows that unpaid carers are not benefitting as intended.
We are disappointed with the lack of impact of the legislation to date. We are growing increasingly concerned by the lack of action following our research recommendations last year. From the experiences carers have shared with us they have told us that they are not getting the support that they deserve and need and are increasingly feeling undervalued and demoralised.
We believe now is the time to be honest about the reality that is facing too many carers across Wales, especially as we know Welsh Government policy will result in a substantial increase in the number of carers across Wales over the years ahead.
Carers already save the Welsh economy £8.1 billion a year. The number of carers are increasing and it would be a false economy not to invest and plan services to meet the needs of carers and support them to look after their own health and well-being.
We are asking the statutory bodies responsible to pick up the pace in delivering the legislation, eradicate the postcode lottery that exists, introduce a minimum service expectation for carers and a maximum waiting time for support”.
Under the Act, unpaid carers in Wales have equal legal rights for support as the people they look after. Local authorities must ensure that they have information, advice and assistance services in place that are clearly advertised. Carers need to know where they can get the right information at the right time and be signposted to services to meet their support needs.
One respondent to the Track the Act survey commented
“If the help and support that carers need could be accessed early it would help in so many ways. We would have less stress and anxiety. Early intervention with the correct support would also be far more cost effective and in the long run cost less”
Garry Loynes - Track the Act respondent
The Track The Act 4 briefing can be read in full below
To see the full press statement, please click the link below