Family Carers and Social Care
Normal 0 false false false EN-GB X-NONE X-NONE I am a former family carer, former as my daughter died on 4 October 2022 following my wife’s death on 26 September 2020, and both are very sadly missed. My daughter was 54 when she died of a heart attack and she enjoyed her life with myself and her mother and then when our health deteriorated her care 24/7 was undertaken by a team of paid carers who provided excellent care respecting her wishes and choices, dignity, were empathetic and ensured my daughter had a very good life while continuing to live in our family home. The introduction of paid carers was gradual starting with 2 carers in a double shift of 60 hours in total Monday to Friday, which then progressed to similar for Saturday and Sunday, when they took my daughter out for lunch each day. As the health of my wife and then my own became worse we progressed to 24/7 care within our home and had an excellent provider of very excellent carers. The carers in many ways became part of our family and even after the death of my daughter many are still in contact with me and visit when they can. I was fortunate, today, to be on the Paulette Edwards, Radio Sheffield programme this morning talking about being a Family Carer and the experiences, the problems and the rewards and how it affected all of our lives. Now family carers are unpaid, but in doing so, as stated in a Carers UK report in 2015, was saving the UK £132 billion in Social Care costs and this can only have increased, substancially over the years in 2021 assumed to be £193 billion per year. Family Carers are entitled to Carers Allowance currently £69.70 per week provided at least 35 hours care is provided during the week, the carer has to be over 16 years and not earn more than £132 per week (after deductions including tax, national insurance and certain expenses). On retirement depending on the amount of State pension being received the Carers Allowance could be reduced or not paid at all. For the allowance is there to mitigate for any lost earning due to caring and when on pension there are no lost earnings. Family carers are also entitled to their own assessment, a Carers Assessment, independent of a needs assessment for the person needing care, to arrange for one contact your Local Authority who may do them themselves or contracted to another organisation to do them, in Sheffield this is the Sheffield Carers Centre. But, Social Care has, largely been forgotten about or dismissed as not being important, which is so wrong for social care is extremely important and needs to be considered on a par with the NHS, as the NHS can’t exist without Social Care and Social Care can’t exist without the NHS and in that Family carers are also so important, so their significance should never be discounted. For it is Family Carers who have been sustaining social care for all the years there has been social care. Lack of Government both funding and recognition of social care has been happening by this current Government and all preceding governments and none have given the so much needed funding and recognition it deserves and requires. This has led to the crisis in social care to escalate and is now and has been for many years seriously affecting the sustainability not only of Social Care but our very much respected NHS. Both the NHS and Social Care need equal respect and both need to be fully funded, for the staffing crisis in both are extremely serious. In fact the staffing crisis in social care could be far exceeding that of the NHS. But when we are looking at the NHS it is much more than Doctors, nurses , ambulance staff, for it is everyone employed within the NHS, for everyone contributes to the team and none can exist without the others. When I mention teams I am looking at everyone for take social care, it is not just social workers and care workers, but it includes families and the family carers for we are all part of the teams and all need to be respected, as is the person being cared for who needs and should be always the centre focus, in other words ‘Person Centred Care’ is the foundation of all care, be it the NHS, Social Care and in the family. This is so much the same in social care for it is not just the shortage of care workers, who so much need to be paid more, at least £15 per hour, but also their employment Terms and Conditions, re holiday pay, travel expenses paid sick leave and much more. You may say what has the Government to do with this, but the Government provides a grant to each Local Authority, (LAs) so they can have funds to which Council Tax, Business Rates and more are also included so that the LAs can then fund the services they provide. But since 2010 this grant has been severely reduced, by the Tory Government Austerity Cuts and therefore LAs have insufficient funds to fund all the services they should be doing, which means for them to keep within the funding, services have to be reduced, for any LA is not allowed to go into deficit. If this funding is not sorted, urgently, then the care staff will continue to reduce. It is said that anyone could be a carer, but that is not really true, for caring is not, as it is said to be, an unskilled profession, for to care correctly it is a very skilled profession and so needs to be recognised as so. Also when looking at Social Care it is so much more than care for the elderly, for it includes both children and adults, not only in care homes, but home care, supported living, respite and hospices. and more. Many will say that the UK can’t afford to fund social care, but I say it can’t afford not to, for if it is not, then social care will continue to diminish so much more and then the crisis in the NHS will be so much more and really threaten the continued existence of the NHS. So whether you do use social care currently or not and remember none of us will really know when we will need social care it is so important that it is sufficiently funded and then continued to be sufficiently funded and with that the NHS also. Look at military spending and I am not saying we should not help Ukraine for we all need to for if Russia is allowed to defeat Ukraine where will Russia strike next, but when any munitions are used, no one says can it be afforded to be used, but this is what is occurring daily in social care and the NHS.