New law failing to deliver for England’s unpaid carers

A year on

A 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, Professor 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.

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Top TV team starts work on carers centre

Nick Knowles fronts DIY SOS: The Big Build

Teams from BBC TV’s DIY SOS moved into Blackpool to day to begin work on one of their most ambitious and heartfelt projects to date.

Presenter Nick Knowles (pictured) and his Purple Shirts team began transforming a Blackpool-based young carers centre from a run-down, neglected Victorian house, to a fun, safe and supportive environment where young carers are able to enjoy their childhood.

The transformation, which will benefit Blackpool Carers, is being carried out in conjunction with Children in Need and the show is due to be screened in November to coincide with the appeal.

Disabled Trunch pensioner reduced to tears by care firm

Patricia Burnett. Picture: MARK BULLIMORE

A care firm with 66 clients in north Norfolk has come under fire for its treatment of a disabled pensioner.

Wheelchair user Patricia Burnett, 73, has been reduced to tears, and left feeling helpless and frustrated by what she claims is poor care provided by Better Healthcare Services.

Her string of grievances include alleging that one carer failed to turn up, others do not know what they are supposed to do and leave without helping her, some turn up too early, and others are not properly trained.

After months of dissatisfaction, Miss Burnett decided to go public this week after breaking down when she said a new carer had not listened to her, handled her roughly and left her in discomfort.

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