Nov 28 2013

Carers fill the gap in health and social care

guest_post2Guest post from Harrow Carers:

Dear reader,

On Carers Rights Day (Friday 29 November) we will be asking the council leader, Councillor Susan Hall, to recognise the gap carers fill in health and social care.

Today there are over 24,500 unpaid carers who have given-up work to look after loved ones in Harrow. This unpaid army save the council and NHS millions every year. They also bridge the gap council departments cannot fill because of budget cuts, yet many carers don’t receive the 24-hour support and advice they need.

It is estimated the value of their free care amounts to £407m but only a small number of carers (less than 15%) get any support; most get nothing. Unpaid carers are being pushed to breaking point. Many feel financially and socially isolated, are exhausted and face health problems of their own.

Most people think caring for loved ones is just what families do, but it is this perception that has pushed caring right to the back of the council’s agenda, into the shadows and mostly out of sight, but the problem isn’t going away.

In the same way society progressed maternity rights a similar revolution is underway for carers through the new Care Bill containing new entitlements. Over the last year our group of ‘Carer Champions’ have been a driving force for change. We have gathered experiences and stories from other carers about their everyday role, and the challenges they face, so we can help make those new rights a reality.

Becoming a carer is a life-changing experience and we believe carers are experts when it comes to services. Carers are some of the most impressive, self-sacrificing and imaginative people in our community and their ideas should be given more influence in council decisions.

We are determined to help carers make the most of their rights on Carers Rights Day and into the future because thousands are struggling – and if carers can’t cope it costs us all more.

If you know someone who needs help contact: Harrow Carers, the borough’s leading carers support organisation, 020 8868 5224 admin@harrowcarers.org.

Yours sincerely,

Harrow Carer Champions Project
Chandu Shah, Gill West, Manish Savjani, Varsha Dodhia, Dianne Mathurin (pictured below with her mum who has dementia), Olivia King Boateng, Souxsie Biswell, Dawn, Moni Bhachu, Derek Baker (Samaritans). Supported by Cllr Sue Anderson, Cllr Victoria Silver, Cllr Margaret Davine


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