May demands right to respite care and signals role for voluntary sector

All carers should have the right to receive respite care and the
voluntary sector would have a part to play, Theresa May, shadow
secretary of state for the family, said this week.

She said costs would limit the right to respite care to begin with,
but such support made financial sense because of the huge
contribution carers made to society.

May told a Conservative conference fringe meeting that it would be
expensive to implement, but that was where her thinking was going.

She wanted to get away from the postcode lottery that existed in
respite care provision.

“We have to begin by drawing a line in the sand and saying the
value of work that carers do is such that it actually requires us
to give something back,” she said.

But she warned that the system must avoid being so state-driven
that people became dependent on it.

May argued that the voluntary sector should be empowered to become
more involved in respite care and also called for the direct
payments system to be less bureaucratic.

The Commission for Social Care Inspection’s chief inspector, David
Behan, told the session that current ways of commissioning must
change if the vision of personalised care was to be

Behan said there were no specific qualifications for commissioners,
who were often appointed because they were good managers.

Meanwhile, in her keynote speech to the conference, May said there
was no place in the party for the small minority who did not
consider women, black people or gay people their equals.

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