Carers’ poor health presents problems for the NHS

    Unless the government helps to protect the health of the
    UK’s six million carers, the NHS may not be able to cope with
    the consequences, Carers Week charities warned as this years event
    was launched, writes Amy Taylor.

    Almost 50 per cent of carers said that they had health problems in
    a new study released by The Princess Royal Trust for Carers as a
    part of Carers Week (June 14-20). UK carers currently save the
    government £57 billion a year.

    The research, which covered over 1,000 carers, also found that well
    over a third of the group said they suffered from depression.

    Another survey released to mark the event, conducted by Carers Week
    and TNS Health Care, found that only 2 per cent of GP surgeries
    offer carers a special appointments system and that only 37 per
    cent of GPs keep a record of carers on their medical records. The
    study covered 1,774 carers and 203 GPs.

    The chief executives of the four Carers Week charities, Carers
    UK, Crossroads Caring for Carers, The MS Society and The Princess
    Royal Trust for Carers, are writing to all Primary Care Trusts
    urging them to improve the services they provide for carers.

    Also to coincide with Carers Week, a cross party group of MPs have
    signed an early day motion, which is being led by Labour MP Bill
    Tynan, to increase the carers allowance from £44.35 a week to
    £79.60, the level of the state pension.

    Carers Week 2004 Survey Results from: www.carersweek.org
    The Princess Royal Trust for Carers survey from: www.carers.org

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