Department of Health and Social Care
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Launch of far reaching consultation for Carers

Launch of far reaching consultation for Carers

DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH News Release (2007/0156) issued by The Government News Network on 13 June 2007

Consultation seeks to stimulate debate on New Deal for Carers

Details of a huge national debate on how to improve the future of the nation's six million carers were released today by Care Services Minister, Ivan Lewis.

Up to £1 million will be made available to key national organisations working with the Government to help provide the greater support in a range of projects that carers need.

A dedicated website, launched today, is part of a major nationwide consultation exercise to engage carers in debate about "what would make a positive difference or improve your life as a carer?

Hundreds of local events will take place across the country over the next few months and carers will be encouraged to post their ideas on the website around the issues that would make a difference for them.

Together with key organisations, the Department of Health will also hold specific regional events to target local carers from as wide a range of caring backgrounds as possible.

Gordon Brown, due to meet carers' groups, carers, volunteers and others at a reception in Downing Street, said:

"Carers are a remarkable group in society; a lifeline for the millions of people who rely on their compassion and dedication. We, as government, need to do more to listen to and learn from carers about how we can better provide the support they need and the recognition they deserve. I am delighted that this consultation will give every carer the opportunity to be heard, and to shape the vision for caring for the next decade."

Care Services Minister, Ivan Lewis said

"We want a New Deal for Carers which is shaped by the views and real life experiences of carers. Instead of a plan drawn up in Whitehall we want meetings in village halls, community centres and town halls in every part of the country to identify carers priorities.

"Our long term mission must be to offer carers a support system which is on their side and recognises they have a right to a life of their own. It is not Government's job to take over the responsibilities of the family but it is our duty to ensure they have access to high quality, sensitive support. As people live longer and disabled people have fuller lives the vast majority of people will find themselves in the role of a carer at some stage in their life. The needs of carers are now relevant to the future of every family in our country."

Imelda Redmond, Chief Executive of Carers UK said:

"Carers make an enormous contribution to society - worth a staggering £57 billion every year - and yet many suffer poor health, financial difficulties, give up work to care and face social isolation.

"This strategy gives carers a once in a decade opportunity to get the right policies to support them. The benefits could be enormous to carers, their families and society as a whole.

"Carers' views really matter and their voices must be heard. Carers UK warmly welcomes Gordon Brown's announcement today and we will do all we can to ensure that their voices are brought to the heart of Government through the golden opportunity that this consultation presents. We've planned numerous events, online consultations, etc. to ensure that as many carers' views are gathered as possible."

Ivan Lewis added:

"Many families want to retain responsibility for the care of their loved ones but they do expect the government to be on their side offering practical support or assistance."

"We respect and value carers, they do an amazing job. They are the hidden heroes in many of our communities."

The website based consultation asks what changes are needed on a wide range of topics, including:

- Who do you want to value you as a carer and how?

- What money issues are most important to you?

- What could change to help you do things outside of caring eg. work, education, leisure

- what about issues with transport?

- Is there any training that you think would improve your life as a carer?

NOTES TO EDITORS

1. The consultation document is available on the web at: http://www.newdealforcarers.org

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