UK Government

Department of Health (National): New Strategy Will Help Identify Carers Earlier

Press Release   •   Nov 25, 2010 11:25 GMT

Up to £6 million will be made available over the next four years to help GPs identify carers earlier, Care Services Minister Paul Burstow will announce later today.

Speaking at the Carers UK Summit, Mr Burstow will outline a series of measures to further support carers as he launches 'Recognised, valued and supported: Next Steps for the Carers Strategy.'

The cross Government strategy follows the Government's vision for adult social care and identifies four priorities to bolster support for carers:

* identification and recognition of carers;
* realising and releasing potential of carers;
* a life outside of caring; and
* supporting carers to stay healthy.

The funding for GP practices to better identify carers will be part of a new training package for GPs. It follows the additional £400 million announced last week that will be available via the NHS to support carers' breaks over the next four years.

Care Services Minister, Paul Burstow said:

"Identifying and supporting carers is critical. Over the past six months we have listened closely to what carers want and we have identified four key priorities. We need better information and advice, allowing people to negotiate the system more smoothly. And we need better support to help carers stay in or get back to work, as many would like to do. 
"Today's strategy outlines a number of ways to ensure carers continue to feel valued and lead full and rewarding lives.

"We all have a role to play in this, whether we work for a GP practice which could provide more personalised care and support for carers or we are an employer that could offer a small change in working hours or provide flexible working arrangements."

The strategy also places an emphasis on helping carers stay in paid employment. Currently, three million people in the UK juggle paid work with caring responsibilities and as many as one million people give up or cut back on work to care. This can both impact on the finances and health of a carer, and a loss of skills from the workforce.

By encouraging employers to adopt a 'carer aware' approach alongside a 'child friendly approach', more carers could stay in paid employment if they wish to.

The right to request flexible working is already available to 2.65 million carers, as well as eight million parents. The Government intends to consult early next year on how best to extend the right to request flexible working to all employees and identify the best way to make this extension. This will benefit people who care for their friends and neighbours.

NHS Choices and the Department for Work and Pensions will also launch a DotGovLabs Innovation Hub today, to explore how digital approaches can provide opportunities to support carers in new and innovative ways.

This Hub will bring carers and the government together with digital innovators, technologists, private sector organisations, charities and investors.*

Notes to Editors:

Department of Health Newsdesk: 020 7210 5221.

In July 2010, the Government called for views on the key priorities, supported wherever possible by evidence of good practice that will have the greatest impact on improving carers' lives in the next four years. In total, 764 responses were received.

*To join this group mail DGL.HUB@DIRECTGOV.GSI.GOV.UK. and you'll be given a login to the carers challenge on the Innovation Hub.

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