Carers at breaking point Commissioner warns

More needs to be done to support carers who are at breaking point the Older People’s Commissioner for Wales warns.
Carers at breaking point Commissioner warns

Sarah Rochira who is the Older People’s Commissioner is concerned that too many carers across Wales are missing out on much needed help and their work is often undervalued.

She said it can often lead to a deterioration of their mental and physical health.

Ministers said much had been achieved in policy to support unpaid carers since devolution.

Speaking on Carers Rights Day, Ms Rochira is worried at the pace of progress in a strategy to help carers and said she wants to ensure Wales gets it right for its 370,000 carers.

“Without the care provided by unpaid carers in Wales, estimated to be nearly £6 billion a year, many of our statutory services would, quite simply, be unable to cope,” she said.

“Carers should therefore be seen and treated as one of our greatest assets. Many of the carers I have met as part of my Engagement Roadshow are at breaking point – they feel that no-one listens to them, despite asking for so little.”

“In so many cases they just want a little bit of help before a crisis occurs, such as information, advice, help to make decisions, practical help and training, and advocacy – someone to speak up on their behalf.”

Ms Rochira said the Welsh government’s Carers Strategies Measure, which was launched in 2010, was a “welcome step forward”.

It is a requirement on the NHS and local authorities in Wales to work in partnership to prepare, publish and implement a joint strategy to help carers.

But while she said improvements were starting to be seen, she added she had “real concerns” over the pace of the progress and that she intends to review the impact the measure is making with carers being at the heart of the review.

She also wants service providers to work together more effectively and focus on what carers want, not what they think the carers need.

The Welsh government said: “We should be grateful that so many people in Wales are prepared to care in this way.

The spokesperson said a refreshed carers strategy was published in June and “much has been achieved in terms of policy, legislation and service development” for unpaid carers since the first version in 2000.

This includes the Carers Strategies (Wales) Measure in 2010 which requires health and social services to engage with carers.

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