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Carers UK welcomes recognition of unpaid carers in NHS Assembly future vision for NHS at 75

by Lisa Carr

Today, the NHS Assembly published a new paper, The NHS In England at 75: priorities for the future, looking at the future of the NHS ahead of its 75th anniversary later in July. 

Carers UK contributed to the engagement exercise which sought evidence and experience, by bringing together the experiences of thousands of carers who have taken part in our State of Caring survey, our regular ongoing engagement with carers, as well as bringing together a group of our experts, our unpaid carers’ members, to provide additional focussed input.

The Assembly’s analysis found a growing consensus that the NHS should now focus on three key areas: preventing poor health, creating more personal care that involves patients and carers’ views and coordinated care closer to home. This will require sustained transformation and long-term investment across a range of different elements. This includes workforce and carers; partnerships; digital technology and data; infrastructure; maximising the value of care and treatment; and creating a well-led, learning, and self-improving service.

The paper, co-authored by Sir Chris Ham and Dame Clare Gerada sets out a bold vision of the future of the NHS and includes unpaid carers at the heart of the paper, recognising that they are essential partners in care.  Research by the University of Sheffield published earlier this year by Carers UK found that unpaid carers’ support was worth a staggering £152 billion a year in England, equivalent to a second NHS.

Helen Walker, Chief Executive of Carers UK, said:

“Unpaid carers gave us a clear vision for the NHS: one that would identify, recognise and support them by treating them as essential partners in care. 

“With 4.7 million people in England supporting relatives and friends who are older, disabled or seriously ill, this is a key opportunity not only to deliver improved health outcomes for the millions of people carers support, but gain better health and well-being for unpaid carers themselves, improve their relationships and support working carers to stay in paid work whilst providing care.

“We’re delighted to have supported the NHS Assembly with the development of this report.”

Helen Walker added:

“The evidence and experience that unpaid carers share with us is incredibly valuable to help show where we need to build and improve recognition, services and support for unpaid carers. We’d like to encourage as many carers as possible to complete our State of Caring 2023 survey, seeking carers’ views and experiences, to build a better future.” 

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