Through the Care Act, we have legislated to give carers new rights. Local authorities will be required to undertake carers’ assessments, based on the appearance of a need for support, the impact of caring on the carer, and the outcomes they wish to achieve, including engaging in work, education, training or recreation. For the first time, local authorities have a duty to meet carers’ eligible needs for support, which may include access to training to support them in their caring role.
The Prime Minister’s challenge on dementia 2020, published on 21 February 2015, recognises the vital role of carers of people with dementia and states that, by 2020, we would wish to see carers of people with dementia being made aware of and offered the opportunity for respite, education, training, emotional and psychological support so that they feel able to cope with their caring responsibilities and to have a life alongside caring.
We continue to support the Dementia Action Alliance’s Carers Call to Action and its vision, which includes for carers of people of dementia to have, among other things, access to expertise to be effective carers. We are also supporting the establishment of a new involvement network for family carers of people with dementia.
We also fund the Carers Direct service which includes web-based information and advice for all carers through NHS Choices, as well as a telephone helpline service through which carers can be signposted to information, which includes local sources of support who can advise on caring for people with specific conditions such as dementia.
In its action plan Commitment to Carers, NHS England has committed to support timely diagnosis of dementia, including support for carers. For example, the revised Dementia Enhanced Service, which is being introduced from March 2015, includes an offer of a health check for carers and signposting to relevant information, advice and support.