The Carers Strategies (Wales) Regulations 2011 were unanimously approved by National Assembly, just before Christmas. The Regulations implement the Carers Strategies (Wales) Measure 2010 and will ensure that carers’ information and consultation needs are met.
Gwenda Thomas, the Deputy Minister for Children and Social Services said:
“Carers repeatedly told me they would benefit from having better access to a wide range of information and guidance that will support them in their caring role and from being better involved in making decisions regarding services for them and those they care for. These are the reasons why I focussed on legislating in these areas first.”
“Unpaid carers do vital work, carrying out up to 95% of care in the community supporting families and friends. Without their crucial contribution, the care system would collapse.
“I want to do all that I can to help unpaid carers and it is for that reason, that I introduced the Measure and these Regulations.”
The Measure places a duty on ‘designated authorities’ to prepare, publish and implement a strategy for the benefit of unpaid carers. These strategies will set out how information and guidance will be provided to carers that will assist them in carrying out their caring role effectively. They will also set out how carers will be consulted and involved in decisions affecting them and those they care for.
The first ‘designated authorities’ are the Local Health Boards across Wales, Velindre NHS Trust, the Welsh Ambulance Trust and local authority social services. The Health Boards are expected to work with key ‘partner authorities’ in designing and delivering these strategies. These partners include Social Services, Third Sector organisations representing carers and GPs. Funding of £5.8m over the next 3 years has been allocated to the Health Boards to help them train staff and implement their local strategies, with the clear requirement that they work together with their ‘partner authorities’ and that funding is shared accordingly.
The Deputy Minister added:
“The Regulations require that the designated authorities submit their local strategies to me by 31 October 2012. Once I have approved them, the work of implementing them and getting the support to carers that they need, can really begin.”
“The local strategies must be reviewed every 18 months to ensure that they are still fit for purpose. This way, the strategies will change to reflect changing circumstances. Carers deserve our support and these Regulations are aimed at helping them in the important work they do.”