CARERS could be set to receive more help and support thanks to a new Bill being co-sponsored by a Wearside MP.
Sharon Hodgson, MP for Washington and Sunderland West, has joined 11 other MPs to support a Private Member’s Bill proposed by Barbara Keeley that seeks to get much-needed help to struggling carers.
Carers UK, which drafted the Bill, hopes to place a duty upon health and education authorities to identify young and vulnerable carers in need of emotional and financial support.
The group says many carers simply see themselves as spouses, children or siblings, not as carers in a legal sense, therefore missing out on a number of benefits available to them, including vital financial support for those who can no longer work as a result of their commitment.
Mrs Hodgson said: “Carers make a massive contribution to our society, yet many only access support when they reach breaking point.
“This Bill would help ensure that GPs and hospitals are identifying carers and getting them support early and also make sure that schools and colleges are identifying and supporting young carers who may be struggling to care for disabled parents.
“I am hoping that disabled people, families providing care, local organisations and anyone else who has an interest in this to sign up and support the Bill.”
Director of policy at Carers UK Emily Holzhausen is delighted with the progress of the Bill.
“Every day we at Carers UK hear about carers who’ve been struggling to care for their families, not knowing what support is available. This Bill would make identifying carers and getting them the support they need a real priority for public services,” she said.
Parliament is due to debate the Bill on September 7. You can add your support to the Bill by visiting www.surveymonkey.com/s/privatemembersbill.
l What do you think? Our contact details are on Page 18.
PETER Sandland is calling for change.
A 24-hour carer for his partner, Elaine Hedley, the 56-year-old feels he and countless other like him, have been let down by successive governments.
Starved of financial support and desperate for some respite, the stress, he says, only compounds what is already a difficult situation.
He was forced to give up his job as a painter and decorator when Elaine, 51, was struck down with illness and now the pair struggle to get by.
“To me, the Government doesn’t help us enough,” he said. “I look after my partner 24 hours a day and I get no help. I was working before she became ill, but now we’re struggling.
“It’s not my fault. I want to work. I can work, but there’s no one to look after her. It does get me down.
“The Government needs to realise we need to be recognised and we need help. A carer needs to be on top form, but we aren’t because we’re not eating healthily because we can’t afford to.
“I don’t see my grandchildren because I can’t go and visit them without someone to look after Elaine.
“We need a lot of voices to make this point.
“It’s no good just sitting around hoping it will change. We need to do something.
“This Bill’s a start, but it needs to continue and be added to.
“We can’t let the Government lose interest, otherwise it’s pointless.”