Posted on: 17 November 2023
West Yorkshire Health and Care Partnership is once again supporting Carers Rights Day on 23 November.
Carers Rights Day is organised every year by Carers UK to raise awareness of the lack of recognition, social exclusion, limited opportunities and isolation of carers, and the impact this has on their mental and physical wellbeing.
Carers UK estimate that three out of five people in the UK will become carers at some point in their lifetime. In West Yorkshire, there are an estimated 400,000 unpaid carers, including many children and young people, who selflessly provide hours of unpaid care for their loved ones.
Being an unpaid carer can impact on a person’s wellbeing and their ability to access health services. Caring may have financial implications too through the impact on careers and earning potential. Being an unpaid carer also impacts on relationships, due to the time commitment of caring or through changes in the relationship with those they care for. It’s vital, therefore, to identify and support unpaid carers, making sure they’re linked into local services that can help. This year, that’s especially important, given many people are feeling the impact of cost of living price rises.
Kulvant Sandhu, Senior Programme Manager for Unpaid Carers, Personalisation and End of Life Care at NHS West Yorkshire Integrated Care Board (ICB), explains the purpose of this day and the rights carers have:
“We’re working with organisations across West Yorkshire to support carers and help raise awareness of the work they do. We also want to make sure that people understand what rights they have.
“Many people are not aware that carers can discuss flexible working options with their employers. There are statutory rights which are protected by law and many employers have contracts of employment with more generous terms rights. In 2024, as part of the Carers Leave Act, they’ll have a legal right to request up to five days unpaid leave a year.
“Carers are also protected from discrimination. If they look after an older or disabled person they are protected by law against direct discrimination or harassment because of their caring responsibilities.
“Carers are eligible for free flu jabs and covid vaccinations and boosters. If you look after someone who is vulnerable, elderly or disabled, you can speak to your GP surgery or local pharmacist.
“Carers can ask for a carer’s assessment from their local council and they have the right to be identified as a carer, including on their patient records – just let your GP practice know.
“Carers are also entitled to be consulted on hospital discharge if the person they care for is being discharged from hospital.”
Rob Webster CBE, Chief Executive Officer for NHS West Yorkshire ICB said: “Unpaid carers play an invaluable role in the lives of the people they care for, our communities and our Partnership. The impact that they make, and also the impact that caring can take, is often underestimated. In fact, there are more informal carers in West Yorkshire than health and care staff.
“It’s so important to raise awareness of carers within our system, their rights and how they can access support. We want the whole of our community, including health and care professionals, to be able to identify unpaid carers and know how to support them, including letting them know where they can get help.
“We count many carers organisations across West Yorkshire as Partners and are strengthening connections to make sure that everything we do includes a perspective from carers, so our services become better designed with carers in mind.”
How you can help
West Yorkshire Health and Care Partnership is asking everyone to raise the profile of unpaid carers and to check in on those they know who care for others to see how they are and even offer support.
A comprehensive overview of information available to unpaid carers (including links to local support services), information for young carers (including identifying young carers), working carers passports and primary care resource packs can be found at www.