6 March 2018 Feedback on Carers Strategy

Minstead Trust and Mencap


The New Forest Parent/Carer Forum has been established by New Forest Mencap and Minstead Trust to provide a place for parents and carers of adults with learning disabilities to come together to find support and information about issues affecting them.  The two organisations represent over 100 parent carers of adults with learning disabilities in the New Forest area.

The Forum met on 30 January 2018 to discuss the Consultation on the Draft Hampshire Joint Carers Strategy.

General Feedback

We welcome the information provided in the document about the number of carers, the amount of caring and the age of carers in the New Forest (and wider Hampshire Area).  However we feel that the generic information about carers is not sufficient and that adult services and GPs should know who the carers are and provide more tangible support to those individuals.

We are concerned that many of the aims for 2023 are simply `we will signpost people to where they can get information`.  Our experience of reviewing the LD strategy is that the goals should be SMART – i.e Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Timely.  As parent/carers it is very difficult for us to know what exactly people are entitled to and therefore to know if that is not being provided.

The Vision statement is unclear – for example, what does it mean to have a vision to `integrate caring with health and wellbeing`?  The goals in the document do not show how the CCG or Adult Services will be able to measure the success or otherwise of achieving that goal. 

We would like to see greater transparency in the systems and decisions made that affect carers.  For example, an assessment may be undertaken about someone’s needs that goes to Panel and carers are simply told of the outcome but with no explanation as to how that decision was reached.  Hampshire County Council should be transparent and have clear processes that are available to all people about these decisions.   In addition, there should be a clear complaints and appeals processes with timescales and targets baselined and then monitored.

Health and Wellbeing

We continue to be concerned about the lack of joined-up approach between NHS and Adult Social Services.   A more holistic approach would recognise the pressure on carers which often manifests itself as ill-health. 

We would like to see a baseline assessment of carers’ wellbeing through GP health assessments.  We feel this would provide people with an understanding as to what the needs of carers are and how they can be best supported.   The paper recognises that the good health and wellbeing of carers essentially saves Government significant money in having to provide care but we do not believe that the health of carers is really taken seriously at the moment.

We recommend that all carers should have a health assessment annually which should last for a minimum amount of time with clear guidelines to GPs about what this entails.   This information should be made available to adult social services

Some surgeries have good practice such as a Carer Lead in each GP Practice.  We would like to see a commitment to every GP surgery adopting this approach.

Having a life alongside caring

We strongly feel that the Carers Allowance is an insult to carers.  Many carers have to give up their working and social lives to care but the allowance is pitiful and does not take account of the amount of care provided (including having to provide care to more than one person e.g. partner/parent and son/daughter). The Council should be mindful that carers have taken on a lot of the burden that would otherwise have been placed on the Council.  In most cases this will have meant one of the parents giving up work and therefore giving up entitlement to a work pension which would have subsidised their retirement income.

We would like a commitment to a minimum amount of respite (or other breaks) for carers.  It is only through the provision of guaranteed respite breaks that many carers feel that they can continue to provide year-round care.  

We strongly ask for the reconsideration of the way in which social services work with carer families.  The loss of a named worker who knows the family and their needs into short term and long term teams has had a negative impact on carers who do not have confidence in the current system.

When a carer reaches retirement age, we believe that there should be a requirement for the Council to ensure that there is transition planning for the carer and the person being cared for including, if required, provision of housing and other support in place before the carer becomes too ill or elderly to continue without it moving into crisis planning.

Other areas that are not covered by the Strategy but need consideration are:

Responsiveness to the changing needs of carers

We would like to see timescales by which Social Services must respond to a request by a carer.  These should be baselined and then have targets set against which progress can be measured.   We feel that carers should be able to expect a reasonable response to requests in change in their circumstances (often due to health and other related issues).

Minstead Trust and New Forest Mencap Parent/Carers Group

February 2018

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