Carers UK's Health and Care Bill 2021 campaign

Carers UK is calling for the NHS to be given new legal responsibilities towards unpaid carers, and hope that other organisations will support us on this hugely important issue.

If you would like to help support this campaign, then please read the following information and sign up below.

Background information: 

The Department for Health and Social Care (DHSC) recently published a White Paper called ‘Working together to improve health and social care for all’. The stated aim of the White Paper and future Bill is to improve the health and wellbeing of local people and support the recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.

The NHS in England depends heavily on the role and input of people who care unpaid in supporting those with long term conditions and disabilities in the community. The Covid-19 pandemic has shone a light on the essential role of unpaid carers in supporting the NHS and social care systems. Despite this, there was no explicit mention of unpaid carers in the White Paper proposals for the Bill. Carers UK has written to Government to express its deep concern at this omission.

Not only do carers deserve to be recognised for the important support they provide, but the aims for integration between health and social care systems can only work if unpaid carers are visible, recognised and counted as part of the NHS.

We are calling for carers to be a clear part of the reforms that are being proposed by Government. Carers must be explicitly referenced in the future legislation.

Carers UK has been campaigning for this for many years.  It is a huge opportunity to make a step forward for carers as well as making sure the legislative base for the health and care system is right for the future.

In the forthcoming Bill we are calling for:
  • A duty on the NHS to have regard to carers and to promote their health and wellbeing.
  • Clear and explicit references to carers where there are duties for new or existing bodies to consult patients and the community.
  • A carer representative on key decision-making bodies.
  • Clear inclusion of carers in the Care Quality Commission’s proposed new responsibilities around the Care Act 2014.
  • Explicit safeguards for carers’ rights under the Care Act 2014, if the requirements for assessment and discharge notices are removed.
This Bill presents an opportunity to acknowledge the role of carers in supporting our health and social care systems and provide support for them to look after themselves and the person they care for.

For more information, please see our detailed briefing on the White Paper here.