Public consultation due on supporting carers in Scotland

Woman helping man Scotland has about 657,000 unpaid carers, the Scottish government says

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The Scottish government wants to hear from the country's unpaid carers on how they can be better supported.

First Minister Alex Salmond told a meeting of carers at Holyrood that a public consultation would take place on the issue before the end of the year.

Legislation is currently being drafted to improve the well-being of carers.

Scotland has about 657,000 unpaid adult carers, up to 100,000 young carers and many who provide care but who do not identify themselves as carers.

The government said it was keen to improve the lot of carers so they could continue their caring duties while remaining in work and having a life of their own.

It also wanted to prevent or delay hospital or residential care admissions for cared-for people.

Mr Salmond, at a meeting of the Carers' Parliament at Holyrood, said: "This government recognises the vital role that carers play in looking after the most vulnerable in society.

"We know that being an unpaid carer can be a difficult and isolating experience and we want to do all that we can to make sure we are doing everything within our powers to help carers in Scotland.

"Progress is being made, including the setting up of the Carers' Parliament, giving carers a voice and an important platform to raise and discuss issues of concern. However, more must be done to ensure carers are supported properly and are fully involved in decisions affecting their lives and those they care for.

"Therefore, I am delighted to announce that the Scottish government will consult on legislation to support carers and young carers.

"The consultation period will start before the end of the year and I would encourage all those who are interested or affected to feed into the consultation process."

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