Mental Illness: Carers

Department of Health written question – answered on 27th April 2016.

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Photo of Jo Cox Jo Cox Labour, Batley and Spen

To ask the Secretary of State for Health, what steps his Department is taking to support carers assisting people with mental health conditions.

Photo of Alistair Burt Alistair Burt The Minister of State, Department of Health

The Government recognises the invaluable contribution made by unpaid carers including those who care for people with mental health conditions and the importance of supporting them in their caring roles.

That is why we continue to support implementation of the improved rights for carers enshrined in the Care Act 2014. The Department has provided £104 million of funding to local authorities for these rights in 2015/16, which include an extended right to assessment and, for the first time, a duty on local authorities to meet carers’ eligible needs for support.

We have also made an additional £400 million available to the National Health Service between 2011 and 2015 to provide carers with breaks from their caring responsibilities to sustain them in their caring role. The equivalent annual allocation of £130 million for carers breaks is now included in the Better Care Fund.

In May 2014, NHS England published its action plan NHS England - Commitment to carers, it includes a series of commitments around eight priorities, which include raising the profile of carers, including young carers.

The Department is leading on the development of a new cross-Government National Carers Strategy that will look at what more can be done to support existing and new carers including those who care for people with mental health conditions. To support the development of the strategy we are currently conducting a national call for evidence. We want to engage with a wide range of individuals and organisations with experience of caring, to ensure our evidence reflects the diversity of experience of carers, and those for whom they care. The call for evidence was launched in March and will run until mid-summer 2016.

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