Press release

400 million for carers respite breaks but care funding is still a gathering storm

Tuesday 16 November 2010

Care Services Minister Paul Burstow has announced a £400 million pot for Personal Budgets, and a “vision” for the adult care sector. Dr Ros Altmann, commenting on the government’s announcement on care funding, said: “Of course, we welcome the government’s announcement; it is a genuine step in the right direction, but the fact of the matter is that the care funding gap is some £6bn if we are to treat carers properly.

"We need far more than a national Vision, we need to ensure this translates to reality at local level. We also need to ensure that carers locally are of a reliable standard and that social care needs are assessed together with healthcare needs.

“£400m to support respite for carers is an excellent start - but it is essntial that these funds are ring-fenced, or else this pledge will be as hollow as that made by the last Government.

“Family carers are the UK's secret army of brave and resilient people who provide an estimated £80 billion worth of support to their loved ones.  For family carers there is often no break, no respite from their 24/7 caring role. Which leaves many long-term carers subject to emotional and physical stress that considerably impairs their own lives. Having just a little help and being able to take a break from their caring roles helps family carers continue to care, improves their lives and the life of those for whom they care.

 “The issue of care funding is a gathering storm. Every day, new research - including our own - flags up the very personal stories of carers, the hardships endured, or the sheer size of the issue."

“Research released today indicates that there has been a vast underestimation of the number of younger people who are involved in providing care for loved ones, and I suspect that wider research would reveal that there are many more older people quietly engaged in dignified commitments to care than the government realises.

“Personal care budgets are a crucial element giving people more control over their care and it is shocking that recent research indicates that many local authorities do not have a firm grip on the issue.”


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