Nine out of ten PCTs in danger of disappointing carers

Nine of ten (91%) Primary Care Trusts (PCTs) still haven’t committed to using government-allocated funding to support carers, according to new research by The Princess Royal Trust for Carers and Crossroads Care.

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.

The two leading carers’ charities surveyed 112 PCTs as part of the ‘Give Carers a Break’ campaign to push Primary Care Trusts (PCTs) to use Government funding of £400m to give England’s five million unpaid carers the support they desperately need.

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.’

Dr John Avery, a carer from Hampshire, summed up the benefit of a break for carers: ‘Respite for us as carers provides a break from the constant anxiety, emotional strain and physical drain of ensuring the on-going safety and well-being of our daughter.’

Anne Roberts, Chief Executive, Crossroads Care added: ‘Breaks from caring responsibilities make all the difference to the carers’ mental and physical health and well-being. We’re calling on Primary Care Trusts, who have not yet revised their plans for supporting carers in the light of the funding allocation, to work in partnership with local carers’ organisations to use the money within their allocations to support carers through breaks and other forms of help.’

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.

The Princess Royal Trust for Carers and Crossroads Care used the Freedom of Information Act to obtain this data from PCTs in England.

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