Due to the outbreak of Covid-19, respite centres and support groups were forced to shut down or heavily reduce their services, meaning those having to support vulnerable individuals in their care are receiving little to no support.
Healthwatch Portsmouth has launched a survey to hear from carers about their experiences during lockdown and what improvements to support they would like to see in the future.
Siobhain McCurrach, head of Healthwatch Portsmouth, 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.’
Figures from Care UK indicate that nationally around 4.5 million additional people have taken on caring for older, disabled or seriously ill relatives or friends since the pandemic started.
One carer told Healthwatch Portsmouth: ‘My son was changing to a new respite centre which is not taking in new users now.
‘Direct payment workers are not coming to our home, so we have been left alone. My son is aggressive, and my husband is not well.’
The survey launches on Monday and is due to run until January 2021, with an interim report being published next month.
Lorraine Pratt, from Southsea, has been caring for her husband Kevin for the last 18 years due to encephalitis; an inflammatory brain condition.
She previously told The News: ‘I hope after [the pandemic] carers in the profession and also unpaid carers get a bit of respect and there is more awareness of what we go through.’