An Irish advocacy group for carers in the UK has claimed that carers are at risk of causing themselves both physical and mental problems due to the lack of respite care support available to them.
Family Carers Ireland said that carer’s needs are not being kept to the same standard as those being cared for, and is making many carer’s jobs difficult to perform effectively.
The National Carer’s Strategy
The advocacy group claims that not enough is being done to properly support carers, despite the fact that the UK government had pledged back in 2008 to commit to a 10-year strategy that would greatly improve the amount of support given to those that care for others.
The National Carer’s Strategy states its primary focus is to ensure that carers are recognised and valued for their services, and as such, support should be readily available for them.
The document itself lays out 42 actions it aims to achieve by 2018, yet with only one year left until the end of the 10-year plan, the strategy has only successfully implanted less than half of them.
A Direct Approach
Due to the lack of success through The National Carer’s Strategy, Family Carers Ireland has now pledged to ask the government for dedicated funding for the cause between 2018 and 2022 in order to provide the respite care that the group says carers desperately need.
“We have now exhausted all possibilities of further progress without investment,” said Catherine Cox of Family Carers Ireland.
“In Budget 2018, we have asked Government for dedicated funding for the next National Carers’ Strategy 2018-2022 to address the serious issues and concerns faced by family carers.”
“We need respite care urgently to give family carers a vital break – and we are seeing the physical and mental health of carers across the country compromised due to lack of supports. Family carers not being involved in planning the care of their loved ones remains a serious issue,” Ms Cox continued.
Lack of Funding
While there is lack of funding from the government, Family Carers Ireland says things are also made worse by the fact that there are now more carers working In the UK than back in 2008.
According to the 2015 figures from the Central Statistics Office, 10% of the UK population provides some form of care – approximately 360,000 people.
The need for more carers is due to the increase in elderly people living in the UK. Family Carers Ireland says that the population of older people has increased by 36% since 2006.
However, despite this increase, funding has not changed to reflect the changing landscape of care in the UK.
“While funding is slowly being restored and currently stands at €56 million, it is still significantly below the funding level paid in 2010 of €95 million,” said Ms Cox.
“Long waiting lists are seen in many local authorities and timeliness is a huge issue, as needs may significantly deteriorate while an applicant is waiting.”
While Family Carers Ireland and the thousands of carers in the UK hope additional funding will be available next year, it is a long wait for the many who are currently and continue to struggle with their role as carers.