Carers groups want the forthcoming national carers strategy to deliver greater equality for carers, along with measures to improve health, employment prospects and short breaks.
The government is expected to publish the strategy – which will update the 1999 version – next week, during carers week.
Carers UK chief executive Imelda Redmond said the charity wanted the strategy to set long-term goals on tackling inequalities facing carers, including discrimination in the workplace.
In the medium-term, she called for health promotion pilots to tackle health inequalities faced by carers and in the short-term, improvements in access to direct payments and information on benefits and other services.
‘Carers must be seen as partners’
A spokesperson for the Princess Royal Trust for Carers said it hoped the strategy would lead to “a world in which carers are recognised as partners in care by all the professionals they come into contact with”.
Fellow charity Crossroads called for services giving carers a break to be expanded, allowing them “to have a life outside caring”.
The government launched its review of the carers strategy in February 2007. Representatives from the three charities served on four taskforces that fed into the review – on equalities, employment, health and social care and income.
Redmond said improving support for carers was crucial for the government’s ambitions to create a “sustainable social care system”, given carers deliver 80% of care.
Earlier this week, think-tank the Institute for Public Policy Research called for carers on low incomes to receive individual budgets worth £5,000 a year, to help them overcome pressures resulting from tightening eligibility for social care.