Carers’ Rights Day

Jane’s Barry and District News column 19 November 2015

Barry and District News Column

“On Friday November 20th, I hope you will join me in acknowledging the enormous contribution of unpaid carers in Wales as part of Carers’ Rights Day 2015. 

A new report, ‘Valuing Carers 2015– the rising value of carers’ support’, from Carers UK and the University of Sheffield,  shows that 384,056 people  provide unpaid care for a disabled, seriously-ill or older loved one in Wales, saving the state £8.1 billion a year.

According to the report, the carer population in Wales has grown by 13% since 2001 and more people than ever are caring for a loved one.

But the UK Government’s welfare cuts agenda and austerity programme is impacting negatively on carers  – with  cuts to housing and child benefits, and most recently, planned cuts to tax credits and the loss of vital support and advice services. 

The UK Government has reduced the Welsh Government’s Budget so that it is £1.3bn lower in real terms in 2015-16 than in 2010-11-this has a knock on effect on local authorities’ funding which backs up carers. 

Carers’ Wales say this report should be a wake -up call ahead of the UK Treasury’s Spending Review on November 25th.

The Welsh Government recognises the significant contribution of carers in Wales and has established new rights for carers in its Social Services and Well-being (Wales) Act 2014.  This will be coming into force in April 2016 and puts a duty on local authorities to promote carer well-being and provide information to carers about the care and support available in their local area. Local authorities will also have a duty to carry out Carer’s Assessments for all carers who show a need for support, and will have to meet any need identified.

The Welsh Government has also recently announced a new deal with pharmaceutical company Novartis, which  will give patients in Wales access to new cancer drugs.

Patients will have access to the medicine everolimus – marketed under the trade names Afinitor and Votubia – to treat certain types of advanced renal, pancreatic and breast cancers as well as non-cancerous brain and kidney tumours associated with tuberous sclerosis complex.

As part of the deal,  Novartis will invest around £1.3m in Wales to set up a study on breast cancer in the main oncology centres and collect outcome data for the patients with metastatic breast cancer receiving everolimus (Afinitor) plus exemestane (Aromasin).

As the Deputy Minister for Health, Vaughan Gething, said:

“Healthcare accounts for a substantial part of Welsh public spending and in this unprecedented age of austerity, with the challenges facing the NHS and growing healthcare demands, it is of utmost importance that we address the health needs of people in Wales and ensure they have access to innovative, leading edge technologies that are both appropriate, effective and affordable to meet their needs.   This unique deal shows how we are working to make sure patients have access to the latest, innovative, cost-effective medicines.”

Jane Hutt AM

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