The six national charities supporting Carers Week 2020, sponsors, NHS England, ADASS and local government representatives joined a virtual roundtable with the Care Minister, Helen Whately on Wednesday 20th May 2020 to discuss the vital role of unpaid carers in the COVID-19 pandemic.
Marking the start of the countdown to Carers Week, which takes place between 8th and 14th June 2020, the roundtable was an opportunity for the charities to highlight the additional pressure on unpaid carers during the pandemic and the support they will need in the future. Previous research by Carers UK showed that 70% of unpaid carers were providing more care for loved ones during the lockdown period, and 55% felt overwhelmed and worried about burning out.
Barbara, who cares for her father who is undergoing palliative care for heart and kidney failure and has dementia, explained the changes to her caring role since the outbreak began and outlined the support that would help her in the future.
Senior representatives from Carers UK, Age UK, Carers Trust, MND Association and Oxfam GB, British Gas and Nutricia explained some of the impacts of the virus on the communities they represent. In line with this year’s theme, Making Caring Visible, the group discussed the level of visibility and recognition of carers and how this could be improved, the importance of getting the right information and advice to carers, and increasing support for working carers
Helen Walker, Chief Executive of Carers UK, said:
“Unpaid carers are playing an essential role during the Covid-19 outbreak and, rightly, they want recognition for their efforts. The roundtable with the Care Minister was an important opportunity to explain the main challenges they’re facing right now, and discuss together what support they will need as the country transitions back to the new ‘normal’."
Helen Whately, Minister for Care, said:
“I am incredibly appreciative of the huge contribution that carers make, especially during these uncertain times. As the coronavirus pandemic continues to affect our daily lives, we are all adapting to new ways of living.
“This roundtable gave us an opportunity both to discuss the invaluable contribution of carers during these unprecedented times and hear from carers like Barbara directly about their lived experience of this pandemic.
“I’d like to thank Carers UK and all those involved in the event. I will make sure I play my part as Care Minister and will look to pledge my support and encourage others across government to do the same."