Short break funding 'disappears'
Friday 14 August 2009
Break provisions for carers in England have not materialised, despite £150 million funding
Carers organisations have written to the chief executive of the NHS to ask where £150 million promised for carers' breaks has gone. They are worried that the money – outlined in June 2008 in the national carers' strategy – is not being used for its intended purpose.
The strategy said the funding would be distributed over a two-year period, beginning in April this year. It said the money would be directed through primary care trusts (PCTs), enabling them to work closely with social services to provide much-needed breaks for carers.
However, research carried out by Carers UK found that PCTs were still unaware of the funding, unclear about how much had been allocated to them, or denied having any new money allocated.
Carers UK, The Princess Royal Trust for Carers and Crossroads Caring for Carers have written to NHS chief executive David Nicholson.
In the letter they say: "Carers tell us that they are still waiting to see whether the National Carers Strategy will have an impact on their lives. In many areas they are very disappointed that the new funding for breaks services, which was one of the headline announcements for the National Carers Strategy, does not appear to have been delivered."
Mencap's national manager for family carers, Lucy Virgo, said: “Mencap's Breaking point campaign highlighted the importance of families getting flexible, reliable and consistent breaks. This is particularly concerning as it suggests that the £150 million given to PCTs to give carers a break isn't being spent on this area of greatest need."
Read Carers UK's reaction and the letter to David Nicholson
Mencap's Breaking point campaign