Today is Carers Rights Day, and the theme this year is Caring Costs.
Caring Costs in so many ways. It could be the cost to unpaid carers’ wellbeing and ability to access health services. Sometimes it’s the financial costs associated with looking after someone – or the effects on carers’ employment options. Taking care of someone may cost carers the quality of their relationships, through not being able to take time out to spend with friends and family or through changes to the relationship with those they care for. And the current cost of living crisis is being felt even more acutely by carers throughout the UK.
Whether someone has recently become a carer, realised they have been caring for a while without support or has been caring for someone for many years, it’s important they understand their rights and are able to access the support that is available to them as soon as they need it.
Every year Carers Rights Day aims to:
Make sure carers are aware of their rights
Inform carers of where they can get help and support
Increase awareness of carers needs
Look to identify new carers that perhaps are unknowingly providing carer support
Here are just some of your rights as an unpaid carer:
Your right to a Carers Assessment
All carers are entitled to a Carers Assessment from their local authority. For more information about how a Carers Assessment could help click here.
If you think your assessment needs to be updated then please let us know.
Your right to not be discriminated against:
If you look after an older or disabled person, the Equality Act 2010 protects you against direct discrimination or harassment because of your caring responsibilities. This is because you are 'associated' with someone who is protected by the law. The protection not only covers employment, but also goods, services, housing and other fields.
Your right to be consulted on hospital discharges
If the person you care for is being discharged from hospital, the hospital must identify and consult with you, where possible. This is part of the Community Care (Delayed Discharges etc.) Act 2003. Additionally the NHS Constitution recognises that patients and, where appropriate, their families and carers should be involved in and consulted on all decisions about a patient’s care and treatment.
Your right to request a free flu jab
If you receive a carer's allowance, or are the main carer for an older or disabled person who may be put at risk if you become ill then you are eligible for a free flu jab and should request one from your GP surgery or local pharmacist.
Your right to request to be identified as a carer on GP records
As an unpaid carer you can ask your GP practice to identify you as a carer on your patient record. This means you can be called for flu jabs and other relevant public health campaigns. Some GP surgeries have a form on their website to help you register as a carer, if yours doesn’t the Carers UK website has some templates hat you can use.
Your right to request flexible working:
Flexible working can include flexi-time, homeworking and job-sharing and can help you to juggle your work/care balance. Your employer has to consider this request but is not obligated to accept it.
If you want to know more about your rights as a carer just get in touch to have a chat with a support worker.