Following the release of research to mark Carers Week 2021, which found that the COVID-19 pandemic has had a significant impact on carers’ ability to access breaks, the Member of the Welsh Parliament for Aberconwy – Janet Finch-Saunders MS – has urged the Welsh Government to review and update the duty on the NHS in Wales to identify carers, ensuring a more systematic approach to respite moving forward.
Concerningly, one in three Welsh carers said they used their breaks to complete practical tasks such as housework. Now, in a Written Question to the Minister for Health and Social Services, the Member has asked:
“What steps is the Welsh Government taking to review and update the duty on the NHS in Wales to support carers, so as to ensure a more systematic approach to improve well-being through access to respite?”
Speaking of the findings, Janet said:
“Many carers have been on call all day, every day over the course of this pandemic, selflessly sacrificing their physical and mental health caring for loved ones. This is not a sustainable approach and Cardiff Bay must recognise widespread worry about how care can continue without increased support.
“With 45% of Welsh respondents saying that they do not get the breaks needed, rising to 72% during the pandemic, it is clear that this troubling trend remains an entrenched issue for our unpaid carers. As I have said in the Senedd previously, more must be done in the here and now to ring-fence respite.
“If the Welsh Government is serious about building back better, Wales must work to ensure access to respite is improved and this time stringently reserved for recuperation, so that our carers can focus on their wellbeing and maintaining social connections.”
Notes to Editors:
- Carers Week is an annual campaign to raise awareness of caring, highlighting the challenges unpaid carers face and recognising the contribution they make to communities throughout the UK. This year’s theme is to Make Caring Visible and Valued.
- Carers UK carried out the online survey between 8 April and 25 April 2021. A total of 2,850 carers and former carers responded to the survey. This included 2,754 current carers and 96 former carers. 14% of respondents lived in Wales.
- You can find the report and more information here.
Photo: Janet Finch-Saunders MS/AS