Carers In The UK Need Better Support & Guidance
On Friday 30 November, Nicola Grover and I attended the Carers Rights Day event at the Best Western Brighton Hotel to provide free legal advice to carers and their families.
While the venue and refreshments truly were “best western”, the Sussex-based carers who came to share their experiences with us reinforced our view that many aspects of our county’s community care services are “mediocre western”.
A number of local carers spoke of social services reducing their relative’s care package, sometimes without the carer being involved in the decisions. Others were unfamiliar with their right to ask for a carers assessment. A surprising number of carers seemed unaware that they could challenge Social Services’ decisions, let alone how to go about it. It was apparent that many carers lacked knowledge and confidence in the legal framework that is designed to support them, and that more can – and should – be done to provide guidance and advice to carers.
On a positive note, I was touched by one father’s account of how his adult son with profound care needs is able to take annual holidays abroad. He explained that with the backing of reciprocal agreements and careful planning, receiving life-saving kidney dialysis in another EU country can make a real difference to his son’s life. This carer had obviously researched the benefits of a European Health Insurance Card, which is available to any person who is ordinarily resident in the UK, including those who require treatment of pre-existing medical conditions.
Attending the Carers Rights Day event in Brighton reinforced our view that many individuals are let down by the system, but it allowed us to hear some positive and enriching experiences, providing further inspiration to ensure we’re doing everything we can to support carers, both locally and nationwide.