There are currently 5.4 million unpaid family carers in England. There are 9,344 just in Wirral South and 5,983 of those carers living in the constituency are over the age of 50.
Looking after an elderly or disabled family member and providing essential support to them can mean that perhaps the person doing the caring is not getting the right support that they might need.
Since becoming an MP I have spoken to carers who are looking after a loved one and attending to their needs. I have seen that this can have an impact on the health of the carers themselves.
With an ageing population and our family lives changing it is important that those in government acknowledge this issue and act.
That’s why I am pleased that Labour’s Shadow Minister for Care and Older People has pledged measures to help support our unpaid carers who may not always recognise themselves as being a carer.
These measures include for example placing a duty on the NHS to identify family carers, and giving carers new rights to ask for an annual health check – allowing problems to be identified earlier and prevent costs escalating.
It makes economic sense to identify the needs of carers as they are at risk of becoming ill or being forced to give up work, but most importantly it is right that people who do such an important job are not pushed to breaking point.
I want to see improved conditions for all carers including those who are unpaid. Over the last five years I have spoken to constituents who work in care and visited places in Wirral South where care is provided to get an insight into the challenges they face. Care needs to be high on the agenda and Labour recognises this as evidenced by the appointment of a Shadow Minister specifically to address these issues and propose solutions.
By Alison McGovern MP for Wirral News