Regulations Will Ensure Carer's Needs Are Met; Gwenda Thomas, Deputy Minister for Children and Social Services, Explains How New Regulations Will Ensure Carers' Needs Are Met

Article excerpt

CHRISTMAS is a time when many of us will be with our families and loved ones.

For some of us, the time we spend together may become too much of a good thing. But for the thousands of people with caring responsibilities, there is often no let-up over the Christmas period.

Unpaid carers do vital work, carrying out up to 95% of care in the community supporting families and friends. Without their crucial contribution, the care system would collapse.

I want to do all I can to help unpaid carers and for that reason, I am pleased the Carers Strategies (Wales) Regulations 2011 have been unanimously approved by National Assembly.

The regulations implement the Carers Strategies (Wales) Measure 2010.

The regulations, which come into force on New Year's Day, will ensure carers' information and consultation needs are met. These are the types of things carers have repeatedly told me they would benefit from, which is why I focussed on legislating in these areas first.

The Measure places a duty on designated authorities to prepare, publish and implement a strategy for the benefit of unpaid carers. These strategies will set out how information and guidance will be provided to carers to assist them in carrying out their caring role effectively.

They will also set out how carers will be consulted and involved in decisions affecting them and those they care for.

Carers have told me the Measure needs to be rolled out to the health services first as they were struggling to engage with them. The first designated authorities, therefore, are health boards, NHS trusts and local authority social services.

Health boards will be expected to work with key partner authorities, including social services, third sector organisations and GPs, in designing and delivering these strategies.

They have been made the lead authorities so they are responsible for coordinating the development of local strategies. I believe this ownership will help ensure the strategies make a real impact. …