|Give Carers a Break Campaign|
(From the Princess Royal Trust for Carers website)
New Dragon's Den star Hilary Devey is backing the Give Carers a Break campaign to push Primary Care Trusts (PCTs) to give England's five million unpaid carers the support they desperately need.
The campaign by the country's two leading carers' charities, The Princess Royal Trust for Carers and Crossroads Care, aims to persuade PCTs to use Government-allocated funding of £400m1 for breaks and other help for carers.
Millionaire business-woman Hilary, a long-term supporter of The Princess Royal Trust for Carers, said: ‘As a former carer and a business-woman it makes perfect sense to me that carers should be supported in this way. Breaks from caring responsibilities make all the difference to the carers' mental and physical health and well-being. It's a sound investment that saves money in the long run because without breaks many carers are not able to continue as their health deteriorates and they end up needing care or hospitalisation themselves.'
Research from the two charities indicates that the vast majority of PCTs are failing to show how they will be spending the cash on carer services - in complete contradiction to government guidelines3.
Nine out of ten (91%) PCTs still haven't committed to using the funding to support carers. And while over half (54%) said they will revise their plans to support carers, carers fear they will miss out again if PCTs aren't held to account.
Liz Fenton, Chief Executive, The Princess Royal Trust for Carers said, ‘As part of this campaign we're calling on the Government to ensure every PCT spends their allocated budget supporting carers. Because the money is not ‘ring-fenced', cash-strapped PCTs are not obliged to spend the money on carers and are in danger of diverting the funds elsewhere.
‘We applaud those like Sunderland PCT which has worked with Sunderland Carers' Centre to give carers the break they deserve by investing £630,000 for extra services to support them.'
The overwhelming majority of PCTs (82%) claimed they had worked with carers’ organisations or carers to develop plans and budgets but local carers’ organisations dispute this figure saying that nearly half (40%) of PCTs did not engage with them at all.