New measures are needed to help identify people caring for their friendsÂ and relatives, an MP demanded today.
Labour’s Barbara Keeley (Worsley and Eccles S) called for more supportÂ from health authorities, GPs and social services to support theÂ increasing number of carers who devote more than 50 hours a week toÂ looking after others.
Carole Cochrane, chief executive of The Princess Royal Trust for Carers,Â said: “We fully support the Bill.
“Without early identification and support, carers can suffer physicalÂ and mental breakdowns.
“This can result in the original patient requiring emergency hospitalÂ admission or expensive residential care and the carer becoming a patientÂ as well. As a result, many families are collapsing under the strain. GPsÂ are crucial in helping to identify carers and offering them support.
“We carried out research in May 2010 and found that over two-thirds ofÂ young carers are bullied at school and 39% said that none of theirÂ teachers are even aware of their caring role.
“Sadly, without the right support, many young carers will under-achieveÂ or drop out of school altogether, which has a long and enduring impactÂ on their future prospects. Again, identification is crucial.
“The new coalition Government has talked about the need to supportÂ Britain’s army of six million adult and young carers, and we are urgingÂ them to honour the pledges they made during the election and back thisÂ Bill.”
This group of carers were often more likely to suffer ill-healthÂ themselves, and a growing number of carers were children, many of whomÂ did not tell their teachers of the extra pressures they faced caring forÂ a parent or sibling, she told MPs.
Introducing her Carers (Identification and Support) Bill Ms Keeley said:Â “We have a population that is living longer and living more often withÂ dementia, illness or a long-term condition.
“It has become clear that more and more families are stepping in toÂ provide full-time and high levels of care.”
The Bill, which has cross-party backing from MPs, would require GPs andÂ PCTs to identify carers and direct them to appropriate supportÂ organisations.
It would also require schools to have written policies in place toÂ support young carers, who were often treated as truants for taking timeÂ off, she claimed.
The Bill was given an unopposed first reading, but stands little chanceÂ of becoming law without Government backing.
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