Healthwatch is calling on carers to share their experiences of providing support during the pandemic.
Unpaid carers have played a greater role than ever before in supporting people with their care needs throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. In addition to the direct support they provide, carers play a vital role in sharing feedback about their care experiences.
Together with CQC as part of our Because We All Care campaign, Healthwatch is asking carers to tell them about the care their loved ones receive, positive or negative across care homes, GP services, hospitals on in their own home.
Sir Robert Francis QC, chair of Healthwatch England, said: ‘Unpaid carers are the backbone of our health and social care systems and their commitment and compassion have never been more vital.
‘The COVID-19 pandemic has had a big impact on both them and those they care for whilst prompting a huge rise in the number of people taking on caring roles, ranging from shopping for food and collecting medicine to providing emotional support.
‘And that is why we’re asking everyone who looks after their friends or family members to share their experiences of care services with their local Healthwatch.
‘Your feedback can help the NHS and social care providers understand what could be improved as they work hard to provide the best possible care during these difficult times.
‘By sharing your experiences via our completely independent and confidential survey, you can help improve support for everyone in your local community.’
Helen Walker, chief executive of Carers UK, said: ‘The changing priorities of our health and care services during the COVID-19 pandemic has had a significant impact on unpaid carers, and the last 10 months have been an extraordinary time for them.
‘81% are providing more care for their loved ones, often as a result of health and care systems temporarily reducing their services and relatives’ care needs increasing.
‘In many cases, unpaid carers have not got what they needed from these services, going for long periods without a break, not able to get the additional support they need, and in some cases reducing or giving up work altogether to care.
‘Meanwhile, some carers have been able to get the practical support they needed.
‘We encourage carers to have their say on their experiences of health and social care services during the pandemic – good and bad – so that the right improvements can be made for all carers.’