As figures from ONS show the increasing numbers of unpaid carers throughout the UK are reaching record levels, Saga is urging the new Clinical Commissioning Groups to consider ring-fencing the funding allocated for respite breaks.
John Billingham, manager of The Saga Respite for Carers Trust, said "Clinical Commissioning Groups have an ideal opportunity to change the way these funds are allocated. We need to stop robbing Peter to pay Paul and start to use these funds for the purpose for which they were intended. Taking the health of our army of unpaid carers seriously should not be an afterthought when their health has deteriorated too far."
"The issue of how to fund social care in the UK is a pressing one for government – but we seem to be losing sight of the individual’s who take on the role of an unpaid carer which is, after all, often saving our Local Authorities substantial amounts each and every year. Nobody chooses to become a full time family carer, it’s often a situation that is thrust upon individuals when a loved one falls ill and Carers often see their own health suffer as a result".
Despite the strain this can put on individuals and families, Saga’s research has shown that two thirds of carers receive no financial support and almost a quarter (24 percent) had never taken a holiday or break from their caring responsibilities, a shocking figure that rises to 31 percent for those that have been caring for 10 years or more!
"The decision to take on the role as a carer often requires no thought, after all why wouldn’t you care for your loved ones – but it isn’t until you become a carer that you really appreciate the gravity of the responsibility and pressure it entails!"
Notes to Editors
The Saga Respite for Carers Trust provides a holiday for a carer over the age of 50 plus a travelling companion and, where required the trust will cover the cost of professional respite substitute care. For further information about the trust please visit email@example.com or email www.sagacarerstrust.org