Government cash for a leading carers’ support scheme was halted because the programme was not reaching enough carers, it has emerged.
Care services minister Paul Burstow told MPs: “We were not getting value for money from the delivery. Not enough carers had been through the programme, and there was no evidence that delivery would accelerate significantly.”
Community Care understands that while take-up of the Caring with Confidence programme was high in some parts of England, in other areas the scheme failed to reach enough carers.
Burstow said the cash would be reinvested to ensure that “the money does much more to benefit carers on the ground”. This will include a training programme to raise GPs’ awareness of their role in supporting carers.
But Greg Drozdz, chief executive officer of Clasp, a carers’ centre in Leicestershire, said that in his area the Caring with Confidence programme provided value for money, costing £86 per carer trained.
“We are devastated,” he said. “Our feedback shows this is an excellent product with demonstrable outcomes, so we feel aggrieved that no one has recognised that and seen if anything can be salvaged. Instead we are throwing the baby out with the bath water.”
He said that the decision to pull the grant early left him no time to find alternative funding sources. “Local authorities and primary care trusts are in dire straits. If I turn up at their door asking for cash they’re going to laugh at me.”
“Carers are going to feel isolated and stressed. The ramifications are more people turning up at the door of adult social care not able to cope, which costs more in the long-term,” said Drozdz.
Carers UK chief executive Imelda Redmond said: “The critical thing is that the money is spent on improving carers’ lives and that the materials developed so far are not wasted.”
Burstow has pledged that training materials from the Caring with Confidence programme will be made available free of charge to carers’ centres to carry on the work.