Dr. Lloyd’s call comes following last week’s publication by Carers Wales of their ‘Track the Act 2017-18 Report’, which stated that only 3.5% of Wales’ 370,000 carers have received a Carers’ Needs Assessment, a key element of the Social Services and Wellbeing legislation.
Under the Act, unpaid carers in Wales have equal legal rights for support as the people they look after, and it also placed a new set of duties on local authorities to meet a carer's eligible needs following a Carer’s Needs Assessment.
It is estimated that unpaid carers across Wales save the Welsh economy £8.1 billion pounds by providing free care.
The Health, Social Care and Sport Committee, chaired by Dr. Lloyd, has also launched an inquiry into the support for Carers.
Dr. Dai Lloyd AM said,
“There is no doubt that the provisions within the Social Services and Wellbeing Act passed in 2014 are laudable and well meaning. However, it is clear that something has gone awry in terms of how the spirit of the legislation is being rolled out in practice.
“Carers Wales’ most recent Track the Act report shows that only 3.5% of Carers in Wales have actually received a Carers Needs Assessment. This is nothing short of a disgrace. Three years on since the passing of the legislation, only a tiny fraction of those who are entitled to an assessment have actually received one. This needs to be at the top of the political agenda.”
The Welsh Government has recently established a Ministerial Advisory Group for Carers, but Dr. Lloyd believes that the time for warm words has passed, and that Government needs to act.
Dr. Dai Lloyd AM said,
“Whilst the Welsh Government is saying the rights things on this matter, what we need now is action.
“The Carers’ community have already identified the issues which need to be acted upon, one of which is ensuring longer-term funding for organisations to put them on a sustainable financial footing.
“The Welsh Government also needs to deliver a national awareness raising programme to ensure that Carers are aware of their rights, and understand how to get the information and support that they are entitled to.
“It is also clear that the Welsh Government needs to sort out the data collection systems in place by local authorities. Four years since passing the Act, it is frankly embarrassing that local authorities still cannot track and report how they are supporting Carers.
“Being a full-time carer is hard work. We know that there are clear links to depression, loneliness and isolation unless Carers are supported. The Welsh Government is failing to protect this vulnerable group of people and needs to act quickly to turn this situation around.”