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Carers in the ‘sandwich generation’ forced to act as nurses

More than 40,000 people caring for a cancer sufferer are now having to fulfil core nursing tasks such as administering medicine and changing dressings, new data reveals.

The cohort of people performing these roles has expanded by over quarter in the last five years, according to Macmillan Cancer Support.

They charity estimates they now form part of a 110,000-strong “sandwich generation” of carers who are faced with looking after both a parent with cancer and their own children, almost nine in ten of whom are also juggling a job.

The new report was based on research among almost 900 cancer carers and found that many suffer mental health problems such as anxiety and depression.

Cancer carers are now spending an average of 17.5 hours a week looking after someone with the illness, the report found, an increase of 2.5 hours since 2011.

The proportion of carers now involved in helping with healthcare tasks, such as giving medication, has also gone to 38 per cent from 28 per cent in 2011.

Lynda Thomas, Macmillan chief executive, said: “Too often this sandwich generation of carers find themselves pulled in every direction by a physically and emotionally draining juggling act that can cause their finances to come under pressure, their working lives to suffer and their own health to bear the brunt.”

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