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Care Act one year on-1A year on from the introduction of the Care Act, a review by the UK’s largest charity for unpaid carers has found that the new act has made little or no difference to the 5.4 million carers in England.

Carers Trust surveyed and spoke to unpaid carers looking after their sick or disabled family and friends, and to health and social care professionals to find out how well they thought the new act, which entitles carers to an assessment of their needs, was working.

The review, led by former care minister Paul Burstow, found a ‘mixed picture’ with examples of good practice, but in many cases found that the act had made no difference to carers. In some instances, carers hadn’t heard about the measures that had been introduced, which could support their needs and well-being as a carer.

The new Care Act came into force on 1 April 2015 and gave carers rights on an equal footing to the people they care for.

Their new rights include taking into consideration the carer’s health and wellbeing, family relationships and their need to balance their home life with their education or work. If they are found to be eligible they are entitled to support, sometimes funded by their local authority. In addition, all local authorities must provide advice and information and prevent carers’ needs from getting worse.

Former Care Minister, Prof Paul Burstow said:

“For many of the carers who responded to Carers Trust’s calls for evidence, the response was stark – the act had made no difference. It was news to some that there were new rights as they simply hadn’t heard of them.

“We found evidence that when it comes to an assessment, the law is either poorly understood or ignored by those responsible. Too often it appears that carers are fobbed off with a one-off payment by local authorities as if that discharges the obligation to promote the carers’ wellbeing.

“We know it’s early days, but more work must be done to impress upon those responsible for the day-to-day implementation of the act that business as usual is not good enough. The Care Act raises the bar for carers but to realise its potential government, councils, social workers and carers organisations all have more to do.”

The review received more than 800 responses, which included evidence from three days of oral hearings where a panel heard personal accounts from carers as well as from leading health and care providers and carers groups.

It found:

  • Only 21% of respondents felt that things had changed as a result of The Care Act 2015
  • 65% of carers who responded said they had not had an assessment, while 4% didn’t know whether or not they’d had an assessment
  • Only 5% of respondents were non-white, suggesting that the act was failing to be implemented in Black and Minority Ethnic groups
  • 31% had received an assessment and described the quality as good

Many carers don’t see themselves as carers which posed a problem identifying and supporting them, said Carers Trust.

Gail Scott-Spicer, CEO of Carers Trust, said:

“The Care Act was widely welcomed when it was introduced, but it’s clear from our report that it is not being implemented fully everywhere and carers are not getting the support they need.”

As a result of the review the panel is recommending:

  • that national and local government, together with the NHS, urgently invest in the support needed to ensure that the new legal rights for carers are being introduced in all areas. This will ensure carers receive the support and breaks they need.
  • The Care Act support programme should continue supporting councils with resources and training to ensure its full implementation of the Care Act for carers.
  • Local Authorities with the LGA/ADASS, should work with carers and service users to develop a self-assessment tool to monitor their progress with implementing the act. As part of this they should urgently review their carer assessment waiting times and recording systems, to ensure that carers receive timely support.
  • NHS Trust providers and GP practices should review their policies to ensure that their organisations are carer-friendly, in order for carers to be  identified, involved and consulted, particularly when the person they care for is being discharged from hospital.

Download the full review here

Carers Trust LogoTELL CARERS TRUST WHAT YOU THINK ABOUT THE CARE ACT FOR CARERS

Carers Trust, the UK’s largest charity for carers has launched a review of the Care Act to look at what difference the act has made to unpaid carers one year on.

To take part in the call for evidence, visit here or www.carers.org/careactcarers

careactbannerCarers Trust will be working with former care minister Paul Burstow who will chair a commission receiving evidence from carers and carers organisations to hear their views on how well they think the act is working – what has worked well and what still needs to be improved.

The new Care Act, which came into force on 1 April 2015, gave carers rights on a par with the people they care for, which includes an entitlement to an assessment of their own needs.

This includes taking into consideration the carer’s health and wellbeing, family relationships and their need to balance their home life with their education or work. If they are found to be eligible they are entitled to support funded by their local authority. In addition, all local authorities must provide advice and information and prevent carers’ needs from getting worse.

There are more than five million unpaid carers in England, often working around the clock to care for a friend or family member, who due to illness, disability a mental health problem or an addiction cannot cope without their support.

Former Care Minister Rt Hon Prof Paul Burstow said:

“The Care Act introduced vital new rights for carers. I worked hard with the carers movement to ensure these made it onto the statute book. One year on is a good time to hear about the difference this is making to carers’ lives – the positives and the negatives.

“I am pleased to be asked by Carers Trust to chair this commission to shine a spotlight on the difference the new rights are making, as well as identifying the lessons that can help ensure carers get the support they are entitled to.”

Gail Scott-Spicer, CEO of Carers Trust, said:

“We are keen to see the difference that the Care Act has made to the millions of unpaid carers who look after family or friends day in, day out, so we want to get their views so that we can ensure they are receiving the help and support they desperately need to carry out their role.

“The review will help us to know what is being done and what else needs to be done to better support them.”

The call for evidence will run for seven weeks until 18 March. The findings will be reviewed by a panel of experts and advisers and the details will be released in a report in summer.

They want to hear from:

  • Carers, especially anyone who has received a carer’s assessment or support as a carer from their local authority since 1 April 2015,
  • Local and national organisations which provide support for unpaid carers,
  • Local authority  and NHS carers leads and commissioners
  • health and  care professionals who support carers

 To take part in the call for evidence, visit here or www.carers.org/careactcarers

 

Care Acts Q&A Slides
The slides from the presentation at the Care Act Q&A at Westminster City Hall on Tues 18 May 2015 are now available to download here

Over 60 Hammersmith and Fulham Carers attended the Carers Network Care Act information event at The St Paul’s Centre, Hammersmith on Friday 13 March 2015.

Among other speakers and workshop facilitators, Jerome Douglas (Care Act implementation Programme Manager, Hammersmith & Fulham Borough Council) gave a presentation concerning the implications of the act for carers.

The slides for this presentation can be downloaded here: Jerome Douglas HF Carers Care Act presentation