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Unpaid carers in Staffordshire to have their say

By Staffordshire Newsletter  |  Posted: March 19, 2014

By Sarah Marshall

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UNPAID carers in Stafford, Stone and Rugeley will be asked to have their say in a review of the services and support available.

Around 100,000 residents in the county provide some form of unpaid care for a family member or friend and almost a do so for more than 50 hours a week.

Statistics show the value of care provided by family and friends to ill, frail or disabled relatives and neighbours in Staffordshire reached more than £1.8 billion last year.

Now carers will be asked for their opinions as part of a major consultation led by independent watchdog Healthwatch Staffordshire, running until the end of April. Their views will help to shape how services are delivered in future.

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Jan Sensier, chief executive of Engaging Communities Staffordshire, which delivers Healthwatch, said: “Thousands of people give up their own time to provide unpaid care to a relative or friend and it’s vital that we give them a voice.

“This exercise will help us understand the key issues so the range of services and support available to them can be improved.

“We want carers to tell us about their own experiences, about what works and what issues need to be addressed and about whether or not current services are fit for purpose.”

“There are a vast number of people in our community for whom caring for others is part of daily life. They do such challenging work without financial reward and often under difficult circumstances.

“Through illness, disability, a mental health problem or an addiction, a lot of people cannot cope without the unpaid support they receive from relatives or friends.

“Carers therefore deserve the best possible services and support and this initiative is about learning how local organisations can best deliver that.”

Carers are being urged to call the free hotline on 0800 051 8371 or go to www.healthwatchstaffordshire.co.uk. Dates of focus groups and details of the online questionnaire will be revealed soon.

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