More support must be provided to relieve the burden on unpaid carers, says Bradshaw

Alliance Health spokesperson Paula Bradshaw MLA has said that more must be done to support unpaid carers who are caring for family members around the clock.

Health Paula Bradshaw carers

A new report from Carers NI has raised some very concerning figures, such as that 48% of the unpaid carers surveyed have experienced symptoms of depression, and that 79% also said that they often felt lonely. More than 220,000 people are said to be providing unpaid care for a sick or disabled family member or friend in Northern Ireland, 2,600 of these carers being under 18 according to the most recent census data.
The South Belfast MLA said: “I am deeply concerned about what this new report shows us on top of what we already know in terms of the pressures faced by those in our community who are unpaid carers, who are being left to struggle with little support for their wellbeing. The pandemic severely disrupted respite provision for unpaid carers and we know that there is yet to be a return to pre-pandemic care levels. Further to this, there is a severe shortage of social and community care packages across Northern Ireland. 
“This is not good enough and we need to be taking proactive steps to ensure that we are taking the welfare of unpaid carers as a matter of utmost importance. These people are already taking a huge pressure off of our struggling health system by freeing up beds in our hospitals for instance, and we must look after them in recognition of the challenges that come with being a carer. 
“As a member of the APG on Carers, I will continue to champion the need to provide sufficient physical, emotional and financial support services for carers who are in a difficult position to begin with, coupled with the post-pandemic recovery pressures and the cost of living crisis.”