Carers and the Health and Care Bill

Reaction to the White Paper on NHS reform has been lukewarm with many key players pointing out that restructuring an endlessly restructured NHS will not in itself address its critical workforce shortages and its huge backlog of unmet need for care and that without increased investment in social care, it risks doing little apart from being a ‘shuffling round of the deckchairs’.

Perhaps the greatest omission from the White Paper concerns the role of unpaid carers: of the need for legislation to ensure that the NHS recognises the crucial role they play and the vital importance of maintaining their health and well-being.  Carers UK has expressed its deep concern at this omission and is campaigning for this to be rectified in the forthcoming Health and Care Bill.

The publication of the Health and Social Care Committee’s draft report on ‘The Government’s White Paper proposals for the reform of Health and Social Care’ includes a powerful statement that will be seen as solid support for this campaign.  It states (para 15 of the conclusions):

Unpaid carers are partners in care and it is deeply concerning that the White Paper does not mention unpaid family carers at all. We welcome the commitment by the Secretary of State to consider what support and representation can be given to unpaid carers, and recommend that the NHS should have a responsibility to have regard to carers and to promote their health and wellbeing. This should be included in the Bill. We further recommend that provisions to protect carers’ rights on discharge also be included in the Bill.

For details of the Carers UK campaign – click here.

Posted 20 May 2021