To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what recent assessment he has made of the additional stress placed on carers, during the covid-19 lockdown as a result of the (a) continued closure of Day Care Centres and other organisations which normally provide respite time to carers; (b) withdrawal of other measures of support for carers, unless a care package is in place and (c) unavailability of people to substitute for carers, by day or night, when those carers would usually be at work; what the impact will be on carers and those for whom they care of the continued absence of sources of respite and support; what assessment he has made of the effect on NHS resources in the event that carers suffer mental breakdown as a result of an inability to cope; and if he will take steps to facilitate the (i) reopening of Day Care Centres, with suitable safeguards in place and (ii) provision of other measures of support to carers.
We recognise the crucial role unpaid carers play, especially during the COVID-19 outbreak and the important role that day services play in providing care and providing an essential form of respite or short breaks for unpaid carers which can allow them to continue to work and support their health and mental wellbeing.
We want access to these important services to continue as soon as it is possible for them to safely reopen.
Decisions on the running and re-opening of day services are made on a local basis and will be subject to appropriate risk assessments based on the latest public health advice. We are working with the Social Care Institute of Excellence, local government and other sector partners, to publish guidance which will help get day services up and running again. In addition, Public Health England is developing guidance on the use of personal protective equipment in community settings, which will be applicable to day services.