New rights for unpaid carers have recently come into force in England with the introduction of the Health and Care Act 2022.
Since 1 July, new NHS Integrated Care Boards are in effect throughout England, with expanded responsibilities that include involving caregivers and individuals they care for in decision-making.
Under the well-received revisions, unpaid carers must now be consulted when choices are made about changing or developing a service, and engagement is expected in regards to the patient’s prevention, diagnosis, and care.
Caregivers also have crucial new rights upon hospital release, meaning NHS Hospital Trusts in England must include unpaid caregivers in planning for a patient’s discharge following treatment.
This includes all adult patients who require care and assistance after hospital release, including further healthcare support.
Commenting, Chief Executive of Carers UK Helen Walker said: “We want to remind unpaid carers they now have stronger rights after this hard-fought win to ensure that they are involved as early as possible in discharge in particular.
“We were delighted that the Government considered this and listened to the strength of feeling about it from carers.
“Our evidence from carers showed how devastating hospital discharge can be where carers are not consulted, involved or given the right information and support to care safely and well.
“We look forward to working with the NHS to ensure that this is delivered well for carers.”
“These new rights are about making sure that carers are involved by the NHS strategically when decisions are being made about services and in relation to the person they are caring for.
“Unpaid carers are the backbone of our health and care system, whose support has been worth a staggering £193 billion a year during the pandemic.”
“The NHS involving unpaid carers means getting it right for everyone, improving health and wellbeing and outcomes.
“It can also save costly interventions down the line which everyone wants to avoid, particularly at a time when health and care services are so stretched.”