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Support for carers

In the past decade there has been significant work undertaken by the Scottish Government to highlight the strategic importance of unpaid carers.

In South Ayrshire we have developed our own local South Ayrshire Council Carers’ Strategy 2012-17. The development of our own carers’ strategy has provided us with clear objectives to deliver support and information to carers across South Ayrshire. In line with this strategy the provision of support and information for unpaid carers is a key priority.

In South Ayrshire, an extensive range of supports for carers is provided by the South Ayrshire Carers Centre. In addition to the Carers Centre, many organisations exist to provide information and advice for carers who are supporting people with a range of specific conditions e.g. Alzheimer's Scotland. View a list of some of these organisations.

Following a carers assessment if you are eligible we can also support carers by providing services to the cared for person. For example this could involve providing formal services which can enable you to have a break from your caring role. This might be for a couple of hours to give you time to meet friends or attend a class or a club, or it might be for a few days or a week to allow you to go on holiday.

These services can include the following:

  • sitting services that come to your home and support the cared for person;
  • day services, where the person you care for can attend a day-centre;
  • a period of respite care, where the person you care for can be looked after in a residential setting for a few days or a week;
  • short breaks for adults, where you and/or the person you’re supporting may go away for a short break; and
  • home care services, providing direct, practical care in the home

Another way in which we can support carers is to ensure that both they and the person they support are receiving their full entitlement of other benefits e.g. social security entitlements. We can do this through arranging a benefits check or linking you in with other organisations e.g. DWP or Citizens Advice Scotland.

The new Carers (Scotland) Act 2016

The Carers (Scotland) Act 2016 was passed by the Scottish Parliament on 4th February 2016. It is a key piece of new legislation that promises to ‘promote, defend and extend the rights’ of adult and young carers across Scotland.

The Government has announced that this new Act will come into effect from 1st April 2018.

In the Act a carer means an individual who provides or intends to provide care for another individual (the “cared-for person”).

In the Act a young carer means a carer who:

  1. is under 18 years old; or
  2. has attained the age of 18 years while a pupil at a school and has since attaining that age remained a pupil at that or another school.

The Act introduces a range of new provisions to identify, assess and support carers and young carers. These include:

  • Carers Assessments to be replaced by new assessments called Adult Carer Support Plans and Young Carers Statements.
  • Carers whose identified needs meet local eligibility criteria will have a right to support.
  • Carers whose identified needs do not meet local eligibility criteria should still have access to other forms of support and information/advice and local authorities will still have a power to provide support.
  • The development of local eligibility criteria must involve consultation and involvement of carers and carers organisations.
  • Carers cannot be charged for any support they receive.
  • Carers and Carers’ organisations must be involved in the planning, shaping and reviewing of services for carers and young carers in their area.
  • Carers must be involved and have their views and caring role considered when determining the need for support and services to be provided to the cared-for person (with their consent).
  • Health Boards will have a duty to inform and involve carers in the discharge planning of the person they care for, or intend to provide care for.
  • Local authorities and Health Boards will be required to jointly produce local carers’ strategies.
  • Local authorities must publish a short breaks statement.

The Scottish Government will also produce a Carers Rights Charter.

Local authorities must provide information and advice services for Carers for example on:

  • rights;
  • income maximisation;
  • education and training;
  • advocacy;
  • health and wellbeing (including counselling); and
  • bereavement support services following death of a cared for person.

A Strategic Planning Group is making arrangements for the implementation of the Carers Act in the area. The Group includes representation from the Health and Social Care Partnership, Carers Centre, Crossroads, Alzheimer Scotland and Ayrshire Hospice.

More information on Carers supports in contained within Strictly Carers.

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