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carers_mainFINANCIAL pressures are pushing England’s 5.4 million unpaid carers to the brink – despite new laws designed to help them.

Carers UK’s State of Caring 2016 report shows that, one year on from the implementation of the Care Act 2014 carers are still struggling to get the support they need.

Almost half of those caring 35 hours or more have left work to care for someone – and are struggling to make ends meet.

And more than half of carers believe their quality of life will get worse over they year.

Under the new legislation, all carers are entitled to a timely assessment of their needs. But 1 in 3 carers who reported having an assessment in the past year had to wait six months or longer for the appointment.

And one-third of carers looking after someone at the end of their life had to wait six months or more for an assessment.

Almost one in four had to request an assessment for themselves over the last year instead of having one offered to them, as the law requires.

Not only are carers facing barriers to getting an assessment, but the assessments they say they have received are not fit-for-purpose.

Of carers who received an assessment in the past year:

2 in 3 felt their need to have regular breaks from caring was either not considered or not thoroughly considered.

Only 1 in 3 felt that support to look after their own health was thoroughly considered.

3 in 4 working age carers did not feel that the support needed to juggle care with work was sufficiently considered.

1 in 5 said they received little or no helpful information or advice, and felt they didn’t know where to go for support with caring.

The research shows that those providing 50 hours or more care a week are twice as likely to be in poor health as non-carers. But 1 in 5 of these are receiving no support whatsoever with their caring role.

Heléna Herklots, chief executive of Carers UK, said: “The Care Act is a powerful piece of legislation. But one year on from the Care Act coming into force and carers’ lives have not improved – in fact, compared with last year, more carers believe their quality of life will get worse in the next year.

“If the Care Act is to deliver on its promise to improve support for carers, the Government must set-out a clear expectation of when carer’s assessments should be carried out, alongside investment in the care and support services that are desperately needed to backup families.

“Caring is not an issue that we can afford to ignore.”

Carers Helpline 0808 808 7777

www.carersuk.org