Many PCTs in England Neglecting Carers

One year after the government committed millions of extra funding for England’s five million unpaid carers, new research shows that spending on carers by Primary Care Trusts (PCTs) has fallen by £2.4m this year.

In November 2010 the Government allocated an extra £400m over four years (2011-2015) to provide support for carers and the research by The Princess Royal Trust for Carers and Crossroads Care seeks to establish how the PCTs have invested the added funding this year.

The report also finds that PCTs have defied Government by not publishing plans and budgets as was requested – only 26% have published updated plans, and 13% have published budgets for 2011/12.

On a more positive note, only 4% of PCTs have not budgeted any investment in services for carers in 2011/12 – half the proportion that didn’t in 2010/11. Half (50%) of PCTs are planning to invest between £100,000 and £500,000 in carers in 2011/12 and over a fifth (22%) of PCTs are investing between £500,000 and £1million, an increase from 16% in 2010/11. 7% of PCTs are investing more than £1m in 2011/12.

Liz Fenton, Chief Executive of The Princess Royal Trust for Carers, says: ‘We’re glad to see that some PCTs have greatly increased their level of investment in services for carers. In these areas, the additional government funding has made a difference and we applaud the PCTs who have made a mark with innovative approaches to carers’ breaks and improved respite care.

‘However, there is a minority of PCTs still not investing anything at all, or a very small amount, in supporting carers. We understand that PCTs are under financial pressure – but strongly caution that failing to support carers does not make economic sense and is morally indefensible.’

Anne Roberts, Chief Executive of Crossroads Care, adds: ‘Having a break can make all the difference to a carers’ health and well-being and enable them to continue in their caring role. The NHS and society in general rely on the goodwill of the millions of unpaid carers inEngland, families and friends, who are providing care 24 hours a day, seven days a week. We need PCTs to be upfront and transparent about how they budget their support for carers. We believe the only way local decision making can be effective and fully accountable is if local people, including carers and carers’ organisations, have the information they need to hold their decision makers to account.’