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Carers Wales response to Assembly inquiry makes recommendations to make carers rights in Wales a reality

Today, on Carers Rights Day the Assembly Health, Social Care and Sport Committee has launched its report into its inquiry on how the Social Services and Well-being (Wales) Act 2014 (the Act) has impacted on carers.

When the law came into force in 2016, it consolidated and strengthened the previous carer legislation and afforded unpaid carers equal rights to the people that they care for.  In particular, the Act gives carers a right to receive information, advice and assistance and a right to have an assessment of their needs by local authorities regardless of the amount of hours they care.

Carers Wales contributed to the inquiry in writing and verbally at evidence sessions.

For the last three years Carers Wales has been monitoring the implementation of the Act as it relates to carers by gathering information from carers, local authorities and latterly local health boards to inform our Track the Act briefings. 

Carers Wales welcomes and thanks the robust work that the Committee has done in gathering the evidence and for preparing the report.  We urge Welsh Government, as a matter of priority to demonstrate their commitment to carers across Wales. We also urge all Assembly Members from all the political parties to debate and ensure that carers in Wales are delivered their rights under the Act.

Claire Morgan, Director of Carers Wales said “Carers save the Welsh economy £8.1 billion a year if the care they provide had to be replaced by statutory services.  It is essential that carers get all the help and information they need to enable them to care safely, look after their own health and well-being, juggle work alongside caring and have a life of their own and be able to do things that the rest of society takes for granted.

From research we issued this morning the chances the average person in Wales has of being a carer is  50:50 by the age of 45, long before their retirement age.  Half of women in Wales will care by the age of 42, compared to half of men who can expect to care by the age of 50.

 It is now three years since the Act was implemented and it is woeful that carers are not benefitting from an Act that intends to help them.  Many carers do not know they have rights or where to go to get the practical help they need.  Our Track the Act briefing 4 found that only 45% of carers who responded to our online survey said they had seen or been give information to help them care, 85% had not had a Carers Needs Assessment in the last twelve months (April 2018-April 2019) and only 4% of respondents said that they had a support package in their own right as a result of an assessment.

It is therefore vital that from the evidence that we have gathered and from our recommendations along with the recommendations of the inquiry report that here is an honest conversation amongst politicians, key stakeholders and the Welsh Government about the barriers that is stifling the successful roll out of the Act.

Please find the full versions of the press release in English and Welsh