Archive for the ‘muscular dystrophy’ Category

What does the future hold for family carers?

8 August 2011

Can we afford to ignore family carers?

Care provided by them is a necessity and will be even more so as the population ages.  Plus as medicine breakthroughs continue and many people with disabilities and illnesses will live longer, the country will rely even more on the foundation that family carers provide.  They are a group of people who provide a vital service, yet governments, past and present, have taken them for granted, have taken their love for granted.

In this present economic climate we are already witnessing many cutbacks within Local Authorities:

  • Care criteria being tightened
  • Day centres closing
  • Respite allocations reducing in many areas
  • Meals on wheels costs increasing dramatically
  • Care package costs increasing
  • Transport for disabled people either stopping or priced out of reach
  • Carers’ grants under threat

…………… and so the list could go on.

Yet through all this, the one thing that remains constant is the love and support given freely by families. They provide a foundation that would be a great folly for any government to ignore.

We recognise that many carers want to return to/remain in work, and realise that any support given to them is vital.

However we cannot, and must not, ignore full-time carers.  Failing to recognise their input is storing up even further trouble for the future by placing added pressure on already stretched Social Services departments and the NHS.

Carer Watch were pleased to learn in the publication of the Welfare Reform Bill that Carers Allowance will remain outside the proposed Universal Credit. Along with many others we campaigned long and hard for this. However Carers Allowance has always been completely inadequate and carers still seem to be overlooked and forgotten as other benefits are changed around them in the biggest shake up of our benefit system in over 60 years.

To date, the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, Mr Iain Duncan Smith, and his department, have maintained silence as to their intentions re:CA. Leaving it outside the proposed UC is not enough. They need to address the problems that have surrounded this benefit for far too long.

There have been many campaigns over the years by various organisations (see notes below) all asking for the same – the reform of Carers Allowance – to remove the restrictions therein and also to increase the monetary pittance that CA is.
In the report Breakthrough Britain (2007) from the Social Justice Policy Group (policy recommendations to the Conservative Party) it was recommended –

 doubling the carers allowance to £90 a week because of the vast amounts carers save the taxpayer by looking after their sick and elderly relatives at home and not relying on the state to care for them.

Other measures would need to be put in place to ensure that families claiming other benefits/premiums were no worse off.

The report also states –  

Family carers are undervalued in our society and receive a disproportionately low level of financial support given the many hours of work that they do.

We cannot and must not allow this opportunity to fully reform CA to pass us by.

Carers are used to words of praise, more of which can be heard here from David Cameron but it is NOT enough. No matter how much understanding he says the Coalition has, no matter how many times he says Thank you, it is NOT enough.

Carers need action and they need it now


Carer Watch campaigns    

National Pensioners Convention      

Carers UK         

Daily Mirror

Age UK – Invisible but invaluable



6 July 2011

The Great British Care Awards are a series of regional events throughout England and are a celebration of excellence across the care sector .  The purpose of the awards are to pay tribute to those individuals who have demonstrated outstanding excellence within their field of work.

There are 9 regional awards leading to 2 national finals for both the home care and care home sectors.

The Carers Award looks to celebrate the unpaid carer who dedicates themselves to the caring of others, therefore we are calling for your help to nominate those who really deserve to be recognised.

Each shortlisted finalist will be given 2 FREE tickets to the Gala Dinner as we
believe everyone is a winner and should enjoy a great night out to celebrate
themselves and the work they do.

To nominate online please follow this link

Thank you!

Welfare Reform Bill 2010-11- 2nd reading House of Lords

6 July 2011

First reading took place on 16 June. This stage is a formality that signals the start of the Bill’s journey through the Lords.

Second reading – the general debate on all aspects of the Bill – takes place on 19 July.

A list of expected speakers, updated regularly, can be found on the Lords Government Whips Office website.


A space to discuss the Dilnot report – funding of Care and Support

4 July 2011

Tomorrow sees the publication of the Dilnot Commission’s report into the funding of care and support – a significant policy development for anyone interested in social care for people of all ages.

Discussion on Twitter has used the #dilnot hashtag for people’s thoughts and to share links/information regarding the Commission. ( also #carecrisis and #socialcare)

People on Twitter have built networks and will be interested in the many responses that will be published by individuals/groups/charities etc. For many time will be limited.

Therefore after a discussion among a few people who host highly respected blogs, it was agreed that ArbitraryConstant  (aka Rich Watt) would offer space, so a frank and open discussion could take place by anyone interested in social care issues.

With many thanks to @rich_w, @monstertalk and @jrfemma for their willingness to try this.

So once you have read the Dilnot report, if you want to discuss the details, please join in with the discussion here

Paul Burstow MP writes: Social care’s little secret – it’s never been free

2 July 2011


None of us know if we will need care in the future, or how much it might cost. But we do know that 1 in 4 of us will face care costs of more than £50,000. What’s more, 1 in 10 will be unlucky enough to face care costs of more than £100,000 in our older age. This is social care’s nasty little secret.

Right now, local councils decide how to spend money on care and support. As a result, there can be big differences between care and support in different areas. Access to support can vary depending on where you live, irrespective of whether or not you have the same care need as someone else. All of this means we have a system that leaves people utterly confused about what help they will receive.

But social care doesn’t just matter because of the costs. It matters because it goes to the very heart of our society where families are the bedrock of care. I don’t believe it’s the business of Government to force people to care for their loved ones. But it is the business of Government to help them if they do so. That’s been our focus in Government over the past twelve months.


Carers need statement from Coalition Government re Carers Allowance

22 June 2011

In support of Carers Week 2011, CarerWatch set up an information stand in a local Gala hall covering the period Wednesday 15th June through to Sunday 19th June 2011.  

The theme was the True Face of Caring and facts and figures can be found here

It has always been important to reach carers, to provide advice and information, and this year it has become even more vital.

Changes proposed within the Welfare Reform Bill, coupled with cuts to Social Services are going to have a massive effect on many familys.

Families providing care are a necessity and as the number of elderly increases and medicine breakthroughs continue, many people with illnesses will live longer…and the country will rely even more on the foundation that family carers provide.  Carers are a group of people who provide a vital service, yet governments past and present have taken them for granted, have taken their Love for granted.

Carers seem to have been completely forgotten, as benefits are changed around them. Both ‘Refresh Carers Strategy’ and ’21st Century Welfare’ – failed to address the issue of Carers Allowance and now the WR Bill is repeating that mistake. The only detail we know is that CA will remain outside of the Universal Credit.

 However, it still remains the lowest of all benefits, claimed by a group of people that contribute immensely to our society. We cannot and must not allow this opportunity to fully reform CA pass us by.

Carers are used to words of praise, more of which can be heard here from David Cameron last week  but it is NOT enough. No matter how much understanding he says the Coalition has, no matter how many times he says…Thank you, it is NOT enough.

Carers need action and they need it now

Time to care? by Laura Bradley

21 June 2011


It is becoming increasingly clear that social care is in crisis. The travails of Southern Cross care homes, coupled with yesterday’s revelations about the inadequate state of home-care, point to the strain the system is under.

A mixture of budget cuts and increased demand mean local councils mean the amount they are willing to spend on care is falling, putting pressure on organisations providing care. There has also been a reduction in council admissions to care homes, with Southern Cross reporting a 14 per cent reduction over the last year. But neither are councils willing to support these people by providing carers to visit them in their own homes. Most councils now only offer home-care to people with the most critical needs, and the remainder will soon follow-suit.

Time to care? | Laura Bradley | Independent Notebook Blogs

The Hardest Hit – We Did It

20 June 2011

Received from Hardest Hit organisers


We did it!

The day of action on 11 May was a great success – we estimate that around 8,000 disabled people, their families and friends took part in the march and 600 disabled people met their MPs to raise the issue of the cuts to DLA and support services.

There was extensive national, regional and local media coverage with at least 500 separate news items related to the event. If you haven’t yet seen our video coverage from the day, you can still watch it.

The rally saw Liam Byrne MP (Shadow Secretary of State for Work and Pensions) powerfully express his support for the Hardest Hit campaign and the day made many MPs and peers aware of the strength of feeling against these cuts.

The Hardest Hit protest has successfully got the issues we care about on their radar. The challenge over the next few months is to capitalise on the pressure we’ve built up and deliver the change we all want to see.

So what happens next


Carers Week Celebrations – Live online

16 June 2011

from Carers World Radio

Tonight from 8pm we will be LIVE on air as part of the Carers Week Celebrations. Patricia Mitchell will be hosting the programme with guests such as Matt Hill Communications and Campaigns Manager for Carers UK, Amanda Waring an independent Film Producer who has recently produced a number of films about caring and Katherine Wilson, Employers for Carers Manager talking about a new report which as been published this week. This is the first  ever research survey into the impacts on employers and employees of managing caring at a distance, an issue that affects millions of families.

All that and much much more and you in the chatroom. Plus you get the chance to be part of history as this is the first time this type of LIVE programme has been on air for Carers, so be part of it TONIGHT!

Remaining stages of Welfare Reform Bill

16 June 2011

The House of Commons held the second day of the report stage of the Welfare Reform Bill on Wednesday 15 June. The Bill was also read a third time and will now be considered by the House of Lords.

Day one: Monday 13 June

MPs considered in the following order New Clauses 1 and 2, Amendments 1-13, 23, 31, 27, and 14-18.

New Clause 1, moved by the Government, related to recovery by deduction from earnings, the Clause was read the first and second time and added to the Bill.

Government Amendments 1-13 were agreed to without a division.

New Clause 2, moved by the Opposition, related childcare, the Clause was read the first time but was negatived on a division (Ayes 215; Noes 293).


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