As MPs debate the new details of the Government’s new Health and Care Bill today, unpaid Carers and organisatons across Cumbria are being urged to raise their concerns, which look to increase the number of people discharged from hospital earlier to be cared for by unpaid Carers.
Eden Carers CEO, Dr. Dani Leslie is urging people and organisations to write to their MP, with their concerns about the new Health and Care Bill, which she says will reduce rights and put more pressure on unpaid Carers if it becomes law.
The Public Bill Committee is due to report back on the Health and Care Bill to the House of Commons this week, and will have a major impact on more than 56,400unpaid Carers and their loved ones in Cumbria. (Cumbria Intelligence Observatory figures)
Dr. Leslie said: “If passed without amendments, this Bill will erode further Carers rights when the person they are caring for is discharged from hospital.
“The new Bill is laying out plans to discharge more patients for hospital earlier, to be cared for in their home by unpaid Carers.
“The Bill’s Impact Assessments (a measure of the effect of the changes) acknowledges that more people would need to take up caring responsibilities and require some Carers to reduce their work hours and salary to provide unpaid Care as patients are discharged from hospital earlier.
“Carers UK has launched a campaign to safeguard and improve Carers rights under the bill. Currently, without amendments, the Bill does erode the rights of all Carers – Young, Parent and Adult. I urge people to write to their MP as I have to demand amendments to this Bill before it becomes law.”
An Impact Assessment done for the Bill estimates there are approximately 7.7 million unpaid carers over the age of 16 in England and between 350,000 and 700,000 patients would be discharged under new ways of working in 2021/22, requiring support from unpaid Carers and the voluntary and community sector.
It further recognises this level of support will have an impact on work hours and salary for unpaid Carers but is ‘too difficult to assess’.
Dr Leslie said: “The Bill if introduced, could have a major impact on unpaid Carers work hours and their financial stability would be reduced dramatically. The assumption made is that unpaid carers work part-time or not at all, and they can and will provide the care which was previously provided within an NHS setting.”
The Bill claims that evidence shows adult unpaid Carers are generally less likely to be in employment compared to the wider adult population with 51% of adult unpaid Careers in employment compared to 61% of the general population and 17% of unpaid Carers in part-time work compared to 14% of all adults.
Debi Marsden, CEO of Carers Support South Cumbria said: “One-in-nine people in the workplace in Cumbria are unpaid Carers. Currently, without support 1-in-5 Carers give up work because the job of juggling their work and caring responsibilities simply becomes too much -and it is a loss to their employer as well as placing financial pressures on unpaid Carers. This Bill as it stands, would increase this pressure on existing and new Carers. (Cumbria Intelligence Observatory figures)
“The Bill also updates the official hospital discharge guidance. At the moment, NHS bodies have a duty to identify Carers and consult them where feasible, before hospital discharge. This right is being removed by the Bill (as published). This is an incredibly important right at a significant part of the health and care journey. Carers’ experiences of hospital discharge are poor and have often been made worse during the pandemic.”
Angela Longrigg, CEO of West Cumbrian Carers said: “Removing the duty to consult with Carers during the discharge process, which can be stressful and challenging for Carers’, would make a stressful situation even worse.”
Craig Backhouse, CEO of Furness Carers said: “The Bill includes some important new provisions to consult Carers, including a duty on NHS England to ensure that Carers are consulted and involved in their commissioning, and a duty on the newly proposed Integrated Care Boards to consult and involve Carers in public consultations and to consult Carers, where appropriate, in the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of patients.
“However, the assumption is that unpaid Carers can and will be able to afford to give up their paid work to bridge the gap in the care provision, without any additional support.”
If you are an unpaid Carer, support and advice is available from your local Carers Support organisations.
You can contact them by emailing or calling their office:
Carer Support South Lakes, Email: email@example.com Tel: 01539 815970
Carlisle Carers Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Tel: 01228 542156
Eden Carers Email: email@example.com Tel: 01768 890280
Furness Carers Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Tel: 01229 822822
West Cumbria Carers Email: email@example.com, Tel 01900 821976