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Unpaid carers: sorely undervalued in spite of being worth ‘a second NHS’

talking local government

Release Date: 11/14/2018

There are 6.5 million of them, looking after friends, family or neighbours who through illness, disability or old age need care that is not being provided by the NHS or formal care services.

The value of this contribution is £132bn to the UK economy and can be equated to having a ‘second NHS’. But that contribution, and indeed social care generally, is not sufficiently valued by those in power, to support it with proper funding.

The situation has arisen partly because of the UK’s artificial divide between health and social care, with the ‘heroes’ of the NHS always coming first in the queue for money. But it is not just about money: our siloed system also prevents the sort of integration in care provision that we can find in places like the Netherlands and Estonia.

This discussion, including audience contributions, refers to a number of positive developments including a programme on the sustainability of care being led by the University of Sheffield, the potential of technology, and the idea for a Royal College for care workers.