Wales politics

Carers struggling to cope, warns older people's commissioner

Sarah Rochira
Image caption Sarah Rochira: "If our carers fall our public services fall."

Carers in Wales are struggling to cope and questions should be asked about the quality of help for them, the outgoing older people's commissioner has said.

370,000 people in Wales are carers, giving unpaid support to loved ones who are older, disabled or seriously ill.

A third are older people and 24,000 are over the age of 75.

But Sarah Rochira told the assembly's health committee just 6,200 people were given an assessment and only 1,200 were offered support last year.

All carers should be given an assessment of the support needed for them, and Ms Rochira said the figures she mentioned "warrant further investigation".

"Our carers are the backbone on which our public services are built," she said.

"They are worth £8bn and they are struggling.

"This year, demographically, the number of carers that we needed was less than the number who needed care.

"We have expended that resource now. We are not doing enough; if our carers fall our public services fall."

A Welsh Government spokesman said: "Our vision for carers in Wales is one where every community has a carer-friendly approach, identifying and supporting carers so that they are not disadvantaged or discriminated as a result of their caring role.

"To achieve that, under our ground-breaking Social Services and Well-being (Wales) Act 2014, carers have the same rights to an assessment and support as those that they care for. Whilst implementation is progressing well across Wales, there are still areas for further development.

"We all need to do more to raise carers' awareness of their rights and to deliver a consistent experience across Wales. We are working with carers and carer-organisations make this happen."

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