Unpaid carers at the back of the queue for council services, says charity

Councils urged to completely reopen and restore local services for unpaid carers following Covid pandemic.

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As it unveils its platform ahead of the 5th of May local government elections, Carers Wales urges council candidates to take action.

Despite the removal of virtually all Covid restrictions, unpaid caregivers remain at the back of the line when it comes to the reopening of local services on which they rely, and they must contend with rising expenses of care in addition to the greater cost-of-living issue.

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During the pandemic, hundreds of thousands of unpaid caregivers in Wales saw their health and financial condition deteriorate as they were obliged to provide more care with less assistance in communities across Wales.

At the height of the pandemic, unpaid carers in every town in Wales saved the local government’s social services and other services £33 million per day by providing care for ill, aged, and handicapped individuals.

According to a recent research issued by the organisation, many local government services on which carers and the individuals they care for rely continue to be badly disrupted.

Only 8% of caregivers stated that day care facilities and respite care homes had fully reopened, while only 16% claimed that all services had been restored.

Recent research from Caregivers Wales reveals that, on average, carers in Wales spent £1,300 of their own money on caregiving.

Recently, Carers Wales released a manifesto entitled “A Recovery for Carers.” This document is offered in both English and Welsh.

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The organisation is encouraging local governments to completely reopen and restore local services for unpaid carers, to increase financing for caregiver services, and to develop local grant programmes to assist caregivers with the rising cost of living and the greater costs of caregiving.

In addition, the organisation is asking for clarity on the eligibility of carers for free Covid testing and is aggressively promoting caregiver test availability.

Beth Evans, Carers Wales Policy Manager said: “Unpaid carers in every community in Wales have been pushed to breaking point by the pandemic and the cost-of-living crisis.

“Their mental and physical health has worsened, and by providing unpaid care to people in need they have saved local government social services and the NHS billions of pounds a year.

“Our research has found the local authority services carers rely on are still heavily disrupted.

“At a time of minimal Covid restrictions, carers should not have to wait any longer for a recovery from the pandemic and the local authority elections must be the start of this change.

“Unpaid carers need the councillors elected on May 5th to take action to re-open services for carers, help with the costs-of-caring and support them to access free Covid tests.

“We urge everyone to ask their local candidates how they will support unpaid carers if elected”.

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