A £2m funding package is being made available over the next two years to continue the support provided to carers in Wales, Welsh Labour’s Health and Social Services Minister Mark Drakeford has announced.
The Welsh Labour Government’s Carers Strategies (Wales) Measure 2010 placed a duty on health boards, NHS trusts and local authorities to work together to prepare, publish and implement information and consultation strategies for carers. The Welsh Government has supported this work with more than £4m over the last four years and significant progress has been made as a result. Local partnerships have also been developed, which have helped to enhance the support available to carers.
In April this year, the Carers Strategies (Wales) Measure 2010 will be replaced by the Social Services and Well-being (Wales) Act 2014. The Act will transform the way social services are delivered in Wales and strengthen the rights of carers.
From April, carers will no longer need to demonstrate that they provide a substantial amount of care on a regular basis to be considered a carer. They will have the same right to an assessment as those they care for and if they have needs which are eligible for support, the local authority will have a statutory duty to plan for and meet those needs. The legislative framework also sets out national eligibility criteria to provide a consistent approach to meeting the care and support needs of all individuals in Wales, including carers.
The £2m funding package provides transitional funding for 2016-17 and 2017-18 – £1m for each year – and builds on the progress already made to support carers. It will focus on partnership working across health, local authorities and the third sector and build capacity to take forward work to further enhance carers rights under the Social Services and Well being (Wales) Act.
There are estimated to be more than 370,000 carers in Wales. 90,000 carers look after family and friends for at least 50 hours a week. Between 70% and 95% of the care provided to people in communities across Wales is given freely by family and friends.