Are you a carer?

Carers provide unpaid support to partners, family members or friends who can not manage alone.

They are vital to the wellbeing and independence of thousands of people, and the number of carers is increasing; beween the 2001 and 2011 censuses the number increased from 5.1 to 5.8 million UK-wide.

There are profund quality-of-life effects on carers.  People providing high levels of care are twice as likely to be permanently sick or disabled; at least 625,000 people the UK have health problems because of their caring responsibilities.

Itís important that people who are looking after another person identify themselves as carers as early as possible, so they can get information, advice and support when they need it.

Carers financial contribution to society

The number of adult carers in Gloucestershire is estimated at 61,500, providing annual savings for the county of almost one billion pounds.  To put that into a more understandable context, that's about £1,200 for every man, woman and child in Gloucestershire.  Another way of looking at it is that on average each carer saves the county £16,000 every year

Carers looking after people affected by neurological conditions probably account for the majority of this £1bn; so, if you are a carer, make sure you are aware of the services to which you are entitled.

Carers Commissioning Strategy 2013-2016

This strategy statement was published jointly by the Gloucestershire Clinical Commissioning Group and NHS Gloucestershire, and was last updated on 16th December, 2014.  You can get the PDF by clicking here.

Legal rights

Carers have legal rights, some of which are spelled out in the Care Act, 2014.  The provisions of this act will come into force in 2015 and will replace some existing legislation. One major change is that carers will be legally recognised in the same way as those they care for.

The new Care Act 2014 significantly reforms the way social care needs are assessed, met and paid for, and how social services are provided.  It also provides a way of linking assessments for carers with assessments for those they care for, and clarifies issues around personal budgets and direct payments.

The official Care Act 2014 document is long and complicated but the Depatment of Health has published a series of fact sheets which are easier to understand.  Fact sheet 8 provides a concise summary of carers' legal rights under the act.

Some useful contacts:

Carers Gloucestershire 0300 111 9000
Carers UK 0808 808 7777
Carers Trust
Formerly Crossroads Care and The Princess Royal Trust for Carers.
0844 800 4361
Gloucestershire Young Carers
Support for people up to age 25.
01452 733060
Gloucestershire Parent Carers 01452 386283
Carers Direct
Free NHS service for information, advice and support.
Free helpline: 0808 802 02 02
© Gloucestershire Neurological Alliance 2014