Subject to the outcome of consultation, the Scottish Government intends to bring forward legislation to support carers and young carers with a view to securing parliamentary approval before the end of the parliamentary session.
The Scottish Government will hold a consultation later this year and provide an opportunity for carers, young carers, the wider public and professionals from the statutory and voluntary sectors to comment on and scrutinise the proposals.
Between now and the end of the year we will hold a number of events to help inform this consultation.
The Scottish Government will scope out the resource implications of the proposals. We will work with COSLA, local authorities, Health Boards, the National Carers Organisations and others to work up the detailed financial implications.
The Way Forward for Carers and Young Carers
Combined, the various strategies and new legislation outlined in the appendix to this Statement will have a positive impact on carers and young carers.
Due to the hidden nature of some caring situations, there will be more people than this caring across the country. Some people do not identify themselves as carers. Others do not want to acknowledge that they are carers despite being encouraged to do so by family members and health and social care professionals. Some other people are not identified as carers by professionals.
Identification as a carer is the first step to a carer's assessment or to support without an assessment. This is what we want to see happen so that better outcomes for carers are achieved. Therefore, the Scottish Government's reforming agenda based on key principles in the Christie Report3 needs to go even further.
Well-crafted legislation will make a big difference to the ease of implementation on the ground. The current rights for carers in law can be modernised, consolidated and updated with a better focus on local authority relationships with other organisations to achieve these rights.
We propose that there are new rights too.
The Scottish Government will consult on removing the limitations of current law so that carers have access to assessment in a similar way to people who use services. We see the benefit in whole-family assessment in some circumstances.
There is a need to prevent or delay carers' needs from increasing or from developing in the first place. Likewise, there is benefit in achieving greater consistency in the way carers are treated and in the support they receive. Building on the power in the self-directed support legislation we will consult on introducing a duty to support carers according to an eligibility framework. Carers can benefit from access to timely, personalised, accessible and comprehensive information and advice and we will consult on legislative provisions to facilitate this.
Carers need to be more involved in decisions about the planning and provision of services for cared-for persons and about support for themselves. This is especially important given their role as providers of services who save the health and social care system in Scotland over an estimated £10 billion each year4. We will consult on how we can reinforce that carers are equal partners.
We will consult on how to improve support to young carers taking into account the measures within the Children and Young People (Scotland) Bill.
We will consult on other provisions to support carers which would help achieve better outcomes.
Altogether, a package of measures aimed at improving both assessment and support for carers will:
- improve carers' health and wellbeing;
- sustain the caring role;
- enable carers to have a life alongside caring;
- assist carers to remain in or return to work;
- enable access to community support networks; and
- prevent or delay hospital or residential care admissions for cared-for persons.
Email: Carers Policy