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Call for action over unpaid carers

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Research has highlighted the strain placed on unpaid carers, with the vast majority reporting they have experienced physical and mental ill health.

The Local Government Association and charity Carers UK say rising demand for social care and the cost of providing it is leading more families to provide full-time care for loved ones.

But many of the estimated 5.7 million carers in England are said to be struggling to cope, with 72% reporting mental health problems and 61% saying they have experienced physical ill health.

This, the LGA says, is putting both carers and those they look after at risk, as well as potentially placing further press on social care and the NHS services.

However, only one in five of carers who responded to Carers UK’s State of Caring Survey said they have not received a carers assessment, which would identify their support needs, in the last year.

The LGA has called on the government to include the estimate £150m cost of providing these assessments in its strategy to put social care on a sustainable footing, alongside further support for unpaid carers.

Chair of the LGA’s community wellbeing board Ian Hudspeth (Con) described unpaid carers as “the backbone of the care system”.

He added: “Carers need breaks. Devoting significant time to unpaid care can not only lead to a downturn in carers’ health, it can also make it hard for them to maintain social relationships, keep working or learning, which could affect their financial security.”

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