Carers say life in Scotland is getting harder

Scottish Liberal Democrat health spokesperson Alex Cole-Hamilton MSP has today pressed for urgent action to tackle the pressures and barriers facing carers in Scotland.  

His comments come as the Health and Care Experience Survey for 2019-2020 reveals that:  

  • The percentage of respondents agreeing they “have a good balance between caring and other things in my life” has fallen steadily from 69% in 2013/14 to 64% in 2019/20  
  • The percentage of respondents agreeing they “feel supported to continue caring” has fallen steadily from 43% in 2013/14 to 34% in 2019/20  
  • The percentage of respondents agreeing that “local services are well coordinated for the person I look after” has fallen steadily from 47% in 2013/14 to 38% in 2019/20  

Mr Cole-Hamilton said:  

“What the findings of this report tell us is that for carers in Scotland, life is getting harder.  

“Around 800,000 people in Scotland have caring responsibilities and the Liberal Democrats are determined to stand up for them. We owe it to all of them to lighten their load and ensure that they and those they care for get the support they need to flourish. 

“At the moment the third sector is picking up a huge amount of the slack for the government. But these services have been badly buffeted by the pandemic. 

“As our new federal leader, Ed Davey has committed the Liberal Democrats to being the voice of the 9 million carers across the UK whether they be paid or unpaid, in care homes or in people’s homes.

"This survey shows we need to do more to look after carers. For example, we know that their mental wellbeing decreases as hours of care increase, and that is one of the reasons why people should never have to wait over a year for the help they need. Scottish Liberal Democrats have a plan to transform mental health services and end the crisis presided over by the SNP.

"Finding the right balance and getting on has also been made harder by the loss of 140,000 college places on the SNP's watch - the overwhelming majority of them part-time. Many carers are among those for whom studying full-time just isn't an option.

"This survey shows that there is much more to be done by both the Scottish and UK Governments to develop fresh plans for supporting carers and care recipients, working with local authorities to ensure that no matter where people are in Scotland, they’re properly supported." 

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