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Carers UK disappointed that breaks money is still not getting through

11 December 2012

Carers are being let down by a scheme designed to give them access to breaks funded through primary care trusts (PCTs), new research reveals.

In 2010 the Government made an extra £400m available to PCTs to fund breaks for carers from 2011 to 2015. PCTs were required to agree and sign off plans and budgets with local authorities and publish information online by the end of this September.

A study by Carers Trust has found that 28% of the PCTs surveyed had failed to publish plans and budgets on their spending on carers breaks in order to meet the Government’s targets for increased transparency and accountability.   Previous work showed that woefully little of the £400 million was being spent on carers – as little as 19%.  

 Emily Holzhausen, Carers UK Director of Policy said: 

“Every day we hear from carers under pressure. Carers look after disabled, unwell and elderly relatives out of love, but we know that providing this unconditional, unpaid care can take its toll and that carers suffer disproportionate levels of ill health. Carers need breaks for themselves, but also if they are unable to have some respite that can have a huge impact on the wellbeing of those that they care for. The carers break system was introduced to help carers get some time away from their caring responsibilities and it is absolutely vital that the scheme is run properly, with transparency and accountability.

Carers locally have been very frustrated that they’ve found it impossible in the past to know how their Primary Care Trusts were spending on breaks and this measure implemented by the last Minister was supposed to improve things.  Although the research shows that transparency has improved, there is still a long way to go before carers feel there is real accountability.    With new Census statistics out today revealing an increase of nearly 600,000 carers in the last decade, it is vital that families get the support they need.  The new Clinical Commissioning Groups improve on this."

The Carers On The Brink 2012 study found 14 out of 50 PCTs sampled had failed to meet the government’s requirements on publishing plans and budgets for carers break schemes, 25 partially met requirements and 11 fully met the requirements.

The full report is available here

You can find more information on breaks here 

Read about the new Census data here


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