Hampshire carers 'left to get on' in pandemic now have voice via Hampshire Healthwatch

UNPAID carers are getting the chance to have their voice heard about the reality of looking after loved ones during lockdown.

Thursday, 1st October 2020, 12:30 pm

Day care centres, respite care and other support had to close down or reduce services when lockdown was announced six months ago.

It meant those looking after friends and family faced an even tougher time than usual.

Lorraine Pratt, from Southsea, has cared for her husband Kevin since 2002 due to an inflammatory brain condition called encephalitis.

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Lorraine Pratt with her husband Kevin who was left severely disabled after contracting viral encephalitis. Picture Ian Hargreaves (171235-1)

The 55-year-old told The News previously: ‘With the lockdown it has also made things harder with not being able to have any help from family and usually we have two carers come in the morning to help Kev get up and dressed.

‘I hope after this that carers in the profession and also unpaid carers get a bit of respect and there is more awareness of what we go through.’

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Dan White from Fareham, who looks after his 14-year-old daughter Emily, who has spina bifida, added: ‘Coronavirus has really put a spotlight on how much the system needs to be changed and how it needs to be better funded.’

Healthwatch Hampshire has now launched its Support for Carers campaign to collect people’s experiences about caring during the pandemic and the changes they want to see going forward.

Neil Bolton-Heaton, Head of Healthwatch Hampshire, said: ‘We undertook a general Covid-19 survey back in July, to ask people how they found accessing health and care services during the pandemic.

‘At that time, carers told us they felt “left to get on with things”, so we want to find out more about the problems and what can be done to support carers moving forward.’

Charities, including Carers UK, Age UK and Rethink Mental Illness, have been calling on the government to recognise the role unpaid carers play, and continue to play in the pandemic, and ensure they get the support they need.

According to Care UK, it is thought that 4.5m additional people have taken on a caring role since the pandemic started.

To take part in Healthwatch Hampshire’s survey visit smartsurvey.co.uk/s/Healthwatchcarers, call 01962 440262, email [email protected], write to Healthwatch Hampshire, Unit 12, Winnall Valley Road, Winchester, SO23 0LD.

The results of the survey will be shared on Carers Rights Day, November 26.

A message from the Editor, Mark Waldron

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