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I agree entirely with my hon. Friend. Those social care staff and the relationships they have with the people they care for can save our service money.
Don’t get me wrong. Social care is hard, sometimes literally requiring heavy lifting and involving emotional distress, yet it is a career that can be rewarding. The Government are keen to build the same consensus on social care that already exists on our national health service, and that is the right thing to do. I hope that we can build parity of esteem for our social care workers.
Of course, there are millions who undertake social care roles without any pay. I listened with great interest to some hon. Members’ comments about unpaid carers. The 2011 census—obviously some time ago—identified that one in 10 residents in England and Wales, or 5.8 million people, are spending at least part of their week caring for disabled, sick or older relatives and friends. As with careers in social care, carers can often enjoy their work and it can be positive and rewarding. There are, however, a lot of reasons why carers need support. Carers’ own health and wellbeing problems are often exacerbated or caused by their caring role. Carers are entitled to a social care assessment of their own needs, and subsequently support, if the assessment shows that they need it; but not enough carers are being identified and subsequently assessed, and that means that they are going without support for their needs, putting their own health and wellbeing at risk. Support for carers should be embedded in funding for social care, and evidence shows that supporting carers can save money in adult social care services and the NHS, while improving the life of the carer and the person with care needs.
I would like to make a quick mention, if I may, of the social care work that goes on in my constituency. Some of the most enjoyable time I spent on the campaign trail was at two hustings that were organised in Peterborough. One was the general election hustings for adults with learning and social disabilities. I found it one of the most rewarding aspects of that campaign, because I learned a huge amount about the experiences of those particular constituents and of those who care for them. I would like to pay tribute to Klayr Lynch, the facilitator of Club 73, and her team for all the hard work they undertake each and every day for some of my most vulnerable constituents. They do a truly brilliant job. The same can be said of the disability hustings organised by Disability Peterborough and the Cambridgeshire Deaf Association, organised by my old school friend Andrew Palmer.
Colleagues will learn much about social care from their own constituencies. In this place we rightly often talk about hard-working doctors and nurses. Understanding the crucial work that those in social care undertake, may I make a plea that hon. Members, especially my right hon. Friends on the Front Bench, remember to include a reference to social care workers when they talk about hard-working doctors and nurses.