WHEN THE Government launched its 10-year NHS plan, Ministers should have done far more to acknowledge the role – and importance – of carers, and specifically those tasked with the twin responsibility of looking after elderly relatives while also bringing up their own children.
Without the 1.3 million unpaid carers who fulfil this role at present and help those who have chosen this vocation as a career, hospitals, local authorities and community care providers would buckle under the pressure because they simply would not be in a position to cope with the additional workload.
However Ministers can no longer take carers for granted as politics becomes totally paralysed by Brexit. As analysis by the Office of National Statistics shows, many are paying a physical, practical, economic and emotional price for doing their duty and there is insufficient support available to them.
Though many carers are helped by supportive families and sympathetic employers, it can be a lonely existence and a deeply frustrating one as they deal with never-ending bureaucracy as well as the strain of caring for loved ones. For too long, politicians have put off answering this question: who cares for the carers? It will deeply remiss of them if they continue to do so.