Unpaid carers filling gap in health and social care

Aisha Lowry’s letter in last Friday’s Observer highlighted the significant challenges facing unpaid carers in Hastings and Rother at a time when government funding cuts are placing huge financial pressures on health and social care services.

Around 9,500 people in Hastings look after a family member or friend who couldn’t manage day to day without their help. Nationally, seven million carers save the economy in excess of £119bn every year and often bridge a gap that health and social care departments cannot fill because of staffing and financial constraints. Everyday unpaid carers provide help and support to people that the state is unable to provide for, keeping people out of our very busy hospitals, out of care homes and as far as is possible helping to maintain their independence in their own home. But there is a price to be paid for this, and it is too often the unpaid carer who pays it with in many cases severe financial consequences and an impact on their own health and wellbeing.

Recent news has highlighted that paid for care providers are struggling to cope with delivering care to the volume of people that require help and support, but the stories do not address the underlying issue of a system which cannot cope and is becoming increasingly dependent on the UK’s seven million unpaid carers.

Without unpaid carers the system would simply not be able to cope and they need support.

Jennifer Twist

Chief Executive, Care for the Carers