Why caring for carers needs to be at the heart of Bucks

10-16 June is National Carers Week and if you are a carer, or know someone who is, you’ll understand how incredibly important this role is to the people they care for.

Many people might not even recognise themselves as a carer, but may be giving vital support to family members or friends in need.

To celebrate and help keep carers connected in their communities, Carers Bucks – a charity set up to support the wellbeing of carers in Buckinghamshire – is holding a drop-in event at Aylesbury Methodist Church from 11am on Friday, 14 June.

So, as this is Carers Week, we think it’s a good time to look at some statistics on carers both nationally and in Bucks:

  • 6.5 million people in the UK are carers.
  • The number of people living with dementia is set to rise by 70% in the next 10 years.
  • There are 49,514 carers registered in Bucks (as per 2011 census).
  • Over 10,000 carers registered with Carers Bucks in 2018 – nearly double 2011’s amount.
  • Young Carers Bucks has registered 810 young carers and 83 young adult carers – but many more will be unregistered.
  • A recent study showed that every £1 spent on support for carers, equates to a £15 saving to the County Council.

Clearly, carers do vital job and, although often unseen, if they weren’t doing what they do there would be pretty severe ramifications – not only for the people who rely on their care, but on health and social care budgets across the area.

In May this year, Buckinghamshire County Council’s Health & Adult Social Care

Select Committee approved the recommendations of a report on what should be done to give more support to carers.

This report included a large amount of feedback from all kinds of carers and helped shape future plans for the new Care Support Service in Bucks. The council is working in partnership with NHS Buckinghamshire Clinical Commissioning Group (BCCG) to create a new Carers Support Service.

Lin Hazell, Cabinet Member for Health and Wellbeing at Bucks County Council told us, ‘A brand new Carers Strategy is being co-designed with carers to look at what their priorities are, as well as developing practical plans to make the improvements happen.

‘This also means ensuring a carer’s health and wellbeing is as important as the person they look after. For example, making sure people have told the GP that they are a carer so that GP’s can tell them what support is available and signposting them to suitable services. Also, those carers are able to attended appointments for Health Checks and other routine screening services when invited’

Clinical Chair of BCCG Dr Raj Bajwa echoes Lin saying, ‘We totally understand the huge responsibility carers take on and the great pressures they face – each individual has a story and no two are the same’

‘Our job is to ensure that Buckinghamshire’s support, advice and practical help is tailored to suit each person and improve their situation. A young carer has very different issues to a more elderly carer, who may have worries about staying fit enough to take care of their loved ones, for example.’

If you’re a carer or know someone who is, find out about local support groups and other information at https://www.carersbucks.org/services/support-groups/