More needs to done to support the health and wellbeing of unpaid carers, says leading charity
More than one million people across Wales have provided unpaid care or support to an older, disabled or seriously ill relative or friend.
The figures, released by Carers Wales, revealed that over a third of unpaid carers polled in Wales saw their health and wellbeing suffer as a result of caring while a fifth said it had affected their job or ability to work.
With 46% of the adult population of Wales saying are currently caring or have done so in the past, the negative health and financial impacts of caring may be being felt among a significant proportion of the Welsh public, underlining the pressing need for action.
The research is released to mark the start of Carers Week (5th-11th June), a national awareness campaign aimed at recognising and celebrating the vital contribution that unpaid carers make to society.
Recent modelling by the University of Sheffield and Carers UK found unpaid carers save Wales £10.6 billion every year by providing care that services would otherwise have to provide, a figure greater than Welsh Government spending on NHS service.
Earlier this week the Welsh Government announced that it would invest £30 million into community care in a bid to ease pressure on hospital services.
However this prompted concerns that the burden of caring would fall on unpaid carers.
Claire Morgan, Director of Carers Wales, said: “There is much more to be done in Wales to help raise awareness of unpaid caring and its impact on individuals, whether that be to their finances or physical or mental health.
“It was recently found that unpaid carers save Wales 10.6 billion pounds every year.
“Wales owes unpaid carers so much, but they are under immense pressure, with their health and ability to work often suffering as a result of caring.
“Almost half of adults in Wales are currently caring or have been carers in the past.
“So many of us will take on unpaid caring responsibilities during our lives so it is critical that unpaid carers are able to access services which help them to care while still leading fulfilling lives of their own.
“The Welsh Government and local authorities must set out a comprehensive response to the recent independent evaluation of the Social Services and Well-being (Wales) Act 2014 which found the reality on the ground for unpaid carers is falling far short of the support promised by the legislation.
“They must also urgently enhance local services for unpaid carers so they can access advice, respite services and financial support to help them manage the pressures of their unpaid caring role.” Spotted something? Got a story? Send a Facebook Message | A direct message on Twitter | Email: News@Deeside.com