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BETTER INFORMATION FOR CARERS

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Carers will get better information about vital services thanks to new ...
Carers will get better information about vital services thanks to new

leaflets published today.

Produced by Carers UK and funded by the Department of Health and

British Gas, the leaflets provide information to all carers on

rights, benefits and breaks in an easy to use format.

Welcoming the new leaflets, health minister Stephen Ladyman said:

'We know that carers need to be able to access information easily

through a variety of routes. This information needs to reach carers

in all parts of society including those people who in the past have

experienced particular difficulties in finding appropriate

information. Reaching hidden carers continues to be a real concern.

'This is why we have supported Carers UK in the development of these

new leaflets to ensure that more of the people who care for others

will be aware of their rights and entitlements. The leaflets are

included in information packs, which will provide carers with key

telephone numbers and advice. They are available through a hotline,

by post and online at www.carersonline.org.uk

'We know that it is vital to give carers the information to help them

make decisions about what support meets their needs and also what

opportunities they wish to take. The information must be about what's

available locally for carers and to do this local authorities should

work with the voluntary sector, in partnership with carers.

Supporting Carers UK in this campaign is a sign of the government's

continuing commitment to support carers.'

Imelda Redmond, chief executive of Carers UK, said:

'With over two million people becoming carers every year, it is an

on-going task to ensure that carers are well informed about their

rights and entitlements. Every day our CarersLine takes calls from

people who have been caring for several years and have only just

realised that they are a carer and might be entitled to support and

benefits.

'Research consisten tly shows that the earlier a carer gets support,

both benefits and services, the less likely they are to have

financial problems in the future and ill-health. Given that carers'

support saves the state a staggering £57bn a year, there is a

strong moral and economic argument to ensuring that they are

supported. We are delighted that the Department of Health is

partnering us on this work.'

Notes

1. Since the National Carers Strategy ('Caring about Carers'), which

was published in 1999, the Government has undertaken to support

carers both in terms of health and social care. We continue to work

with voluntary organisations and local authorities to ensure that

provision of appropriate and up-to-date information for carers is

available in a variety of formats. These include:

Carers UK help-line (Carers Line).

Carers Online, which aims to ensure that national standards are

maintained when providing local information to carers around the

country.

'Ring Around Carers: Reaching out to hidden carers', which uses local

radio to help people identify themselves as carersand bring them

together to discuss their experiences.

'StartHere', which is designed to provide accessible touch screen

information to both people needing services and carers about a wide

range of health and community services.

2. The government has a dedicated website at www.carers.gov.uk, which

was launched in 2000 to provide a central point of information for

carers.

3. The government has undertaken to ensure that carers are aware of

their entitlement to benefits under community care law:

The National Carers Strategy highlights the importance of ensuring

carers have access to benefits they are entitled to.

The 'Fairer Charging Policies for Home Care and other non-residential

Social Services' guidance for local authorities states that

individuals should be provided with comprehensive benefits advice at

the time of a c harge assessment and that councils have a

responsibility to seek to maximise the income of users.

4. The new leaflets are available from the Carers UK website at

www.carersonline.org.uk

5. This year's Carers Rights Day has been dedicated to:

* identifying hidden carers

* ensuring carers are aware of their rights

* raising the awareness of the needs of carers

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