Short breaks for carers in England have been boosted by an extra £400m over the next four years.
Announcing the funding today, care services minister Paul Burstow said he wanted to see carers determine how the funding was used through direct payments.
The money will be channelled through primary care trusts and will be in addition to the extra £1bn a year allocated to the NHS for adult care through last month’s comprehensive spending review.
It was welcomed by Carers UK, whose chief executive, Imelda Redmond, said: “Carers who don’t get breaks are far more likely to fall into ill-health and support which allows carers to take a bit of time off can prevent them being pushed to breaking point.”
However, she said it was crucial that the funding reached carers, citing a previous allocation of £150m given to PCTs from 2009-11 to spend on short breaks that has not been spent as desired.
“In the past, carers have been let down, as funding pledges which have made headlines have not been delivered on the ground,” she added.
Burstow pledged today’s funding announcement would be different from those made by the previous government saying that lessons had been learned.
He said that the forthcoming NHS operating framework would make spending on carers’ respite a priority for PCTs and that trusts would receive specific allocations to spend in this area.
Today the government also announced its vision for adult social care, which entails greater use of personal budgets and greater use of outsourcing.
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