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A third of carers anxious that further service cuts are on their way

A quarter of unpaid carers have not had a day off in five years, a new survey by an influential social care charity has today revealed.

In the Carer’s UK report, ‘State of Caring 2017’, it was also noted that 40% of carers had not had a break in over a year, sparking concern from the organisation that home carers were reaching ‘breaking point’.

The survey also showed how cuts to social care services was causing anxiety for carers. Close to a third (29%) said they were worried that practical support might be reduced in the future, and more than a third (34%) reported a change to the services helping them or the person they cared for.

Carers who had not taken a break in over a year also reported a deterioration in their health. For 73% of these people, this related to their mental health, whilst 65% found their physical wellbeing suffered.

On top of this, 87% also said that they struggled to get time away from their care duties. When asked what the barriers preventing them from taking a break were, cost was the biggest reason for 31% of respondents, care concerns for 31% and 16% said they did not know how to request a break.

 “More and more of us are stepping in to provide care and support to loved ones and doing so for more hours every week,” said Heléna Herklots CBE, chief executive of Carers UK.

“Without access to breaks, carers can quickly reach breaking point, unable to look after their own health, nurture relationships with friends and family or have the time they need to themselves.”

Herklots added that the research showed how carers were not getting a break as appropriate support for their loved ones wasn’t available as services they rely on were being cut or imposing fees for care.

“The need for an action plan from the government on how they will improve support to carers is now urgent,” the CEO recommended. “Increasing funding for carers’ breaks is a key part of the change needed to support people to care without putting their own lives on hold.

“Given the enormous value of unpaid care provided by the UK’s 6.5 million carers, estimated to be worth £132bn each year – getting some time away from caring to spend time with a partner, get to a medical appointment or just get a full night’s sleep surely isn’t too much to ask.”

Back in 2015, councils had suggested allowing council tax reductions for unpaid carers in order to attract them and recognise the hard work they put in.

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