Table of contents


Adults :: Carers :: Summary


The term “unpaid carer” encompasses individuals of any age who provide unpaid support to a relative partner, a child or friend who could not manage without this help.[1] This could include the provision of support to someone who is ill, frail, disabled or has mental health or substance misuse problems. In Medway there are an estimated 25,000 unpaid carers,[2] although many carers do not make themselves known to services, and as such this number is likely to underrepresent the actual value. Caring can have detrimental effects on the health of the carer and also in their ability to remain financially independent, as many have to give up work in order to provide care. It is important that carers are identified and supported early to ensure that the health and wellbeing of the carer, and the person being cared for, are protected. Those particularly vulnerable are carers that are very young or elderly.

Key issues and gaps

The Care Act 2014 came into force in April 2015 and, for the first time, allows carers the same rights to assessment and support as the persons they care for.[3] This shift in focus has highlighted the need for change nationally, to put legislation from the health and social care reforms into action. This includes the increased monitoring of the impact on carers, to ensure that future priorities for action to support carers are identified. In response to the Care Act 2014, Medway has formed a new strategy entitled “NHS Medway and Medway Council Joint Carers' Strategy”,[4] which sets out to identify carers in need of help and put in place the structures necessary to deliver advice and support. This support is hoped to maximise the carers' potential through the delivery of training, identification of resources already available to them in their family and community networks and, in some instances, provision of financial assistance.


[1]   HM Government. Recognised, valued and supported: next steps for the carers strategy 2010; HM Government. .
[2]   Office for National Statistics. Census 2011;
[3]   Government H. Carers Strategy: Secon National Action Plan 2014 - 2016 2014;
[4]   NHS Medway and Medway Council. Joint Carer's Strategy 2015 - 2017 2015;