Carers week provides us with the opportunity to check with carers what more we can do to support them.

Carers have reported that they have an increase in the intensity of the care they provide. 20% of carers are over 65 years young.  The majority are working age and hold down a job and other family commitments while also providing care.  One in 10 carers in Fife are not able to take part in work due to their caring responsibilities.  And we know that carers are more likely than average to have their own health conditions.

Over the last year we have made some significant improvements in how we support carers and what support is available. We know we can do more.  We commit to doing more and continuing to make a positive investment to support carers.

This carers week gives us the idea opportunity to take stock and reflect on what we have done and what more we need to do. We are aware that we are not reaching every carer but why this is the case is less clear.  We also know that not everyone who provides unpaid carer wants to have the label of ‘carer’.

Michael Kellet, Director of Health and Social Care said, “Since the Carers Act was introduced in April 2018 we have made investments in a range of new supports for carers. This new investment was designed to support carers to help themselves.  We understand that most carers will not want direct help, but some need guidance and support to access the right sources of support for themselves.  This journey started last year with new advocacy support for all carers and additional support for carers at Fife’s two main hospitals, both free at the point of access.  This year we continue with that support and add new free support available to all carers across Fife.  During this Carers Week we are launching our income maximisation support for carers, befriending support for young carers and a new digital resource in partnership with Carers Scotland.  And we have launched our new carers’ web-site with a wide range of information and guidance available to all carers.

We know we can do more and in the coming years we hope to be able to enhance the current offer as we continue our journey to support the many fantastic carers in Fife. We’ve had to make some tough choices but our investment is strongly influenced by carers.  Their voice is important and it’s for that reason that today we are launching our carers experience survey.  Carers are the best people to tell us what we need to improve.  I encourage all carers in Fife to take part, tell us what works well and what we could do differently or better.  We will use this to shape the support we make available over time.

This short survey gives carers a real voice and a chance to influence change. This survey asks carers to tell us their story, what the impact of caring has been for them, what works well, and what we could do to support them better.  Visit the new the Health and Social Care carer website to share your opinions. www.fifehealthandsocialcare.org/carers/