Improving the lives of carers and those they care for
The Suffolk All Age Carers Strategy 2022-2027 was launched at the Suffolk Health and Wellbeing Board on Thursday 17 November 2022.
It is likely many of us will be young carers or adult carers for loved ones at some point in our lives, and this can happen unexpectedly. It may be that you have been a carer and may be a carer again in the future.
Carers UK estimated 4.5 million people became carers in 2020 due to the pandemic, finding themselves in positions of financial hardship, reducing or stopping work, deterioration in their health, school pressure, breakdown in relationships or isolation.
The 2011 census reports that there were 77,745 people who identified themselves as carers in Suffolk. Suffolk Family Carers estimate that there are now 98,000 carers in Suffolk (2022), there are many more people who likely do not identify themselves as carers.
Carers tell us that caring can be challenging but also very rewarding, and that carers need to be celebrated. We agree, and we know that all carers are unique - there is no such person as a typical carer. You may be looking after a family member, friend, a child, parent, sibling, neighbour, or a combination of loved ones.
You are essential in supporting the health and social care system but more than that: you matter, and your needs also deserve to be met.
It was recognised that carers of all ages must have a voice in the development of the strategy and action plan.
An Equality Impact Assessment was completed and published in March 2022, designed to ensure that a policy or service does not discriminate against any disadvantaged or vulnerable people and that, as far as possible, any negative consequences are eliminated or mitigated.
Co-producing the strategy
Between February 2022 and May 2022, 54 young carers and 28 adult carers were involved in the development of this strategy. More carers were contacted through groups, surveys and further co-production.
From the data gathered and working with the consultation team, carers voices were heard and the priorities developed. A consultation then ran for 8 weeks, from 20 June 2022 – 15 August 2022.
The outcomes and priorities
We worked with young and adult carers to identify these five priorities:
- Early identification of carers
- Improved information and advice
- Young carers to have the same priority as adult carers
- Systems and services that work for and support all carers
- Improved health and wellbeing for carers
The action plan
The co-produced action plan that will follow will be where these priorities will see change and make a difference for all carers across Suffolk.
6 monthly reports will be provided to the Family Carers Partnership Board and Suffolk Health and Wellbeing Board.