We are frequently contacted by families who are caring for their loved ones.
This is not people who are paid to do so, but who do so because of their love and loyalty to their sick relative. We have noticed a considerable change in the landscape whereby such care is being provided because there is no access to professional support within people’s own homes (domiciliary care) or because the care homes within the locality do not have any vacancies.
A recent BBC News article details that new research suggests the value of unpaid care in England and Wales is almost equivalent to a second NHS. Unpaid carers contribute an annual £162bn to the economy in the two nations, the Carers UK charity and the University of Sheffield found. This is compared to an estimated £164bn in funding for the NHS in 2020/21. Carers UK said social care pressures meant people were being “left without a choice but to put other areas of their life on hold and provide more care”. Researchers used 2021 Census figures and calculated the number of people providing unpaid care against the cost for replacement care, taken as £25 per hour in 2021 and £18 per hour in 2011. Their estimate of £162bn per year was 29% higher in real terms than in 2011, they said. The estimated NHS budget for England came from the King’s Fund health think tank, researchers said, with an additional £8bn added as an estimate for the NHS budget in Wales.
Helen Walker, chief executive of Carers UK, has described the findings as “deeply concerning” and said unpaid carers felt they were being “taken for granted”. She said, “the ever- declining availability of social care means there is shrinking support for families to pull on” and “having to care around the clock for a loved one has significant implications for people’s ability to stay in paid work, remain financially resilient and maintain their health”.
Matt Bennett, deputy director of the university’s Centre for Care, said “the economic contribution made by unpaid carers paints a stark picture of the savings they make to health care budgets” and “without unpaid carers, our health and social care systems would collapse – we hope policy makers see the urgent need to act to support unpaid carers”.
A Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) spokesperson said, “We all owe unpaid carers a huge amount of gratitude for the time and care they give their friends and family”. They added the government was supporting social care with “up to £7.5bn over the next two years” and in April had published a reform plan. The DHSC also provides £325m through the Better Care Fund for ‘short breaks and respite services for carers, as well as additional advice and support’.
Source: BBC News, ‘Value of unpaid care matches NHS budget, research finds’ by PA Media
At Paladin Advocates and Attorneys, we are here to help and support such unpaid carers to navigate through the maze of options and possibilities with practical help and guidance. We have a network of contacts to create connections and seek avenues for funding and the provision of respite and live-in care domiciliary care.
Our Anne Reed acts a professional Attorney for both financial and health and welfare matters, which means if you plan in advance, she can be there in your time of need for help and support. It is now more crucial than ever to plan ahead and so importantly could mean you future proofing your choices and preferences.
We at Paladin Advocates and Attorneys are specialists in assisting clients and their families when in need of help and advice relating to sourcing funding and creating care packages; facilitating hospital and care home discharges; appointing Attorneys and creation of LPA’s and Wills.