Government issues new Coronavirus adult social care action plan - and recognises the role of unpaid carers

Adult carers, Armed forces carers, Parent carers, Professionals, Young adult carers, Young carers
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A new focus on social care

On  15th April, the Health Secretary, Matt Hancock launched the new Coronavirus adult social care action plan, outlining the Government’s intentions to support care workers and those receiving care in care homes and the community. Many carers rely on the support of such workers and will welcome this development. He also acknowledged the work of unpaid carers, especially at this time.

The Department of Health and Social Care’s report says:
We recognise  the  crucial  role  unpaid  carers  play.  They make  an  invaluable  difference  to  the lives  of  the  people  they  support,  and  are an  integral  part  of  our  health and social care system. At this time, their role is even more important. Social distancing  requirements  mean  that  unpaid  carers  are  providing  higher  levels  of  support  than  they  normally  would and at the  same  time  access  to  respite  care  is  limited.

Unpaid  carers’  longer-term  health  and  wellbeing  is  critical  to  the  continued  sustainability  of  the  social  care  system.  We have published guidance to support  unpaid carers, including advice on limiting the risk of COVID-19 infection, and what to do if it occurs. We are working with young carers to produce tailored advice that meets their needs.

 

Helen Walker, Chief Executive of Carers UK, welcomed some aspects of the report:
At long last, the Government has recognised the role of the social care sector in this fight back against coronavirus.

“Social care is just as important in the national response, having nearly twice as many workers as the NHS, and further supported by as many as 8.8 million unpaid carers looking after family members and friends in homes. A plan for our sector should have come sooner.

“It’s good that testing and personal protective equipment (PPE) are now being prioritised for social care workers who need it most, but it is vital that it reaches them. There must also be enough for unpaid carers, some of whom are caring for extremely vulnerable people, including those who are shielding.

“It’s also right that the Government is working to ensure that people have the right to say goodbye to those who pass away, and this will be incredibly important for families looking after loved ones who are older, disabled or seriously ill.”

See full details of the report here and the Government guidance for carers issued last week here.