Paul Burstow writes… The care bill must deliver for carers

Across the country today, almost a million people are selflessly caring for friends and family with cancer. Their work is incredible and inspiring, and not only means the world to those they care for, but makes a massive contribution to our society. For far too long their role has been overlooked. It is why while I was Care Minister I made sure that the Care Bill enshrines new rights for carers in England.

The Bill rightly puts carers at the centre of care – as equal partners in care planning who, for the first time, will have clear rights and entitlements to assessment and support. I am also pleased to say that following on from the recommendations of the Committee I chaired on the draft Bill, the legislation now makes clear that the wellbeing of carers is as important as those they care for. This parity of esteem for the wellbeing of carers marks an important shift. And following a lot of lobbying it was good to see the Government recently announce new measures to ensure that young carers get the right support at the right time.

These reforms mark a long-overdue recognition of the role of carers and the toll it too often takes on them. While this should be welcome news for the millions of carers across England, sadly there remain gaps in the legislation that must be addressed if all carers are to get the support they deserve. Macmillan’s research shows that only 5% of people looking after a looked one with cancer have had a carer’s assessment. While the new rights for carers should help ensure that many more carers are assessed, often carers have contact with the NHS and very little with social services. What’s more, too often the NHS overlooks the role of carers entirely – while over 70% of carers said they came into contact with GPs, doctors and nursing staff, only 11% of all carers say they have been identified as a carer by NHS staff. For the Bill to deliver for all carers, I have reached the conclusion that the NHS must make identifying carers a priority, and the Government should make clear in regulations and guidance that carers must be identified and able to access the support they need to continue the vital and selfless work they do caring. We cannot allow cancer carers, any carers, to fall through the gaps, and I will be working with colleagues in the Lords and Commons to ensure that this issue is not allowed to drop.

* Paul Burstow is Liberal Democrat candidate for Sutton and Cheam and was the MP until the dissolution of Parliament on 30th March.

Read more by or more about .
This entry was posted in Op-eds.

One Comment

  • I am currently, along with my partner battling with the Adult Social Care Team in my Local Authority for help and assistance in respect of my 85 year old Mother-in-Law. We are confronted with a system, dictated by and on behalf of the Social Workers and OT’s, and having read through The Bill, can see no intrinsic change in the balance of power.

    We are stonewalled, fobbed-off and ignored. Telephone calls go un-responded too, when questioned about timescales, we are informed “….it will be dealt with….” or “….it has been passed on….” and “….we are unable to say how long it will be, but it is in hand….” – There does not appear to be any timescales or basic standards laid down in the wording of this Bill: Section 9:- Assessment of an Adult’s needs for care and support, all fair and good BUT just because the Local Authority must undertake an assessment, it does not state how long the person or family will have to wait, before an assessment is undertaken

    Currently as we are only finding out to our frustration, when my Mother-in-Law was discharged from hospital, we were told “If you need help, all you need to do is ring…..”, then when we did were informed “Oh, we don’t arrange for any assessment until at least 4 weeks after the discharge date.” When pushed and we asked if we could make the appointment, we were told “As I said, we will arrange an appointment after 4 weeks…..” When asked how long after the 4 weeks were up could we expect an appointment, we were advised, “….as I said after 4 weeks, we will arrange an appointment, but I cannot give you a timescale or be more specific…..” – We are supporting and helping with the needs of my Mother-in-Law, my partner works full time, and in addition is giving another 30+ hours a week support, my sister-in-law is my Mother-in-Laws carer, already giving 30+ hours personal care and additional shopping/going to the chemist etc – I myself am disabled, so although unable to give physical help, am supporting my partner, ringing Social Care etc.

    If this Bill is to be truly on the side of carers and those needing care, I believe there should at a minimum be some form of duty on Local Authoritys’ and other bodies, to have timescales and limits to work within.

Post a Comment

Lib Dem Voice welcomes comments from everyone but we ask you to be polite, to be on topic and to be who you say you are. You can read our comments policy in full here. Please respect it and all readers of the site.

To have your photo next to your comment please signup your email address with Gravatar.

Your email is never published. Required fields are marked *

Please complete the name of this site, Liberal Democrat ...?


Recent Comments

  • Mary ReidMary Reid
    @Graham Jeffs - yes, I am fortunate to be living in a target seat, although I was campaigning for about 20 years before we won it. It's a long game. My point...
  • Alex Macfie
    The mistake made by Clegg & co wasn't going into coalition, it was the way they did it, going in too quickly and conducting it as a "love-in" rather than a ...
  • Mark
    I wouldn't normally encourage people to spend time reading Conservative Home website, but this article is well worth a read:
  • David Garlick
    Given in his speech his dismissal of action of climate change, so appropriate that the climate chose to give him a good soaking. A drip being dripped on....
  • Peter Martin
    @ Steve, "Might it help.if our party were to assertively oppose Neoliberal socio-economics...." Of course it would. It's unlikely any establishm...