Deputy Health and Community Care Minister Lewis Macdonald said:
“Scotland has an ageing population, with people living longer and receiving more care at home. As a result, the importance of unpaid care is likely to grow and we are committed to working with carers as partners in providing care. Against this background, the Care 21 report was commissioned to assess the needs of carers so we could ensure services and funding support them effectively over the next 10 years.
“Carers have been central in the creation of the Care 21 report, their views are valued and have shaped our response to the recommendations. We have highlighted four immediate areas that we will take action on now - young carers, carer breaks, carer training and carer’s health. We will develop measures, through the creation of a task group, to improve the support and advice offered to young carers. This will help to ensure that the estimated 115,000 young carers in Scotland are protected from inappropriate caring responsibilities.
“The vital and demanding work of carers cannot be underestimated and it is only right they are able to take breaks. A task group will work on respite provision to help improve choice and access to breaks for carers. Carers have a right to information and support as early as possible to benefit their well-being and protect their health. To enable this, we are providing guidance today to NHS Boards on the creation of Carer Information Strategies to ensure they identify carers and provide them with information, support and training where appropriate. Training for carers is critical in helping them to develop skills in their role and to minimise the impact of caring on their own health. Carer training forms an important part of these Strategies.”
Elaine McGonigle from the Princess Royal Trust for Carers, speaking on behalf of national carer organisations, said:
“We welcome the Ministerial response to ‘The Future of Unpaid Care in Scotland’ and its recognition of the immense and unique contribution of carers to society. We particularly welcome and endorse the Executive’s commitment to a 10-year agenda to improve the lives of carers across Scotland. The report, informed and shaped by carers for carers, sets out a challenging vision and long-term agenda for action for government, the statutory and voluntary sectors.
“To ensure that these aspirations become reality and deliver real change for carers, national carer organisations are committed to working with the Executive and other partners in the statutory and voluntary sectors to take forward this next critical phase of implementation. It is our sincere hope that effective partnership working across all sectors can make a positive and lasting impact on the lives of Scotland’s 660,000 carers.”