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The Government’s Carers Strategy pledged £150m would be given to Primary
Care Trusts (PCTs) in England to provide breaks for carers. £50m of new money
was identified in 2009/10 and £100m in 2010/11. The National Carers’ Strategy
pledged a doubling of breaks funding and a requirement upon PCTs to undertake
joint planning with their councils. Research by The Princess Royal Trust for
Carers and Crossroads Care has found that only £10m will be used to increase
support for carers and that 23% of PCTs have no joint plan. Locally, <Name of
PCT> has used only X of its allocation of X to increase support services for
carers.      (See      our      survey        of      PCTs        available at

We would greatly appreciate it if you were able to write to the Secretary of State
for Health regarding this matter.

The intention of the National Carers’ Strategy was to increase NHS engagement
through awarding them new money. However, PCTs were not told how much of
this year’s £50m they were receiving in their base budgets. This caused
confusion amongst PCTs, who had heard that they were to receive new money
but were then given no more details. We were able to produce estimates which
many PCTs found useful, but others were reluctant to accept as accurate from a
Third Sector body.

Despite the National Carers’ Strategy stating that detailed guidance would
appear in the NHS Operating Framework 2009/10, the Framework said only:
“The Carers’ Strategy sets out how we can ensure that we support carers. One
key requirement is that PCTs should work with their local authority partners and
publish joint plans on how their combined funding will support breaks for carers,
including short breaks, in a personalised way.” (para 37).

Furthermore, David Nicholson, Chief Executive of the NHS, stated in a letter to
carers charities that references to the carers in the Operating Framework, should
be read in the light of the Vital Signs document, meaning that NHS decisions
regarding support for carers are entirely locally decided. Thus, the requirement is
not actually a mandatory requirement.
£100m has been identified in PCT base budgets for 2010/11 to provide breaks
for carers. There is a danger that even less will reach carers. To avoid this
central pledge of the National Carers’ Strategy going undelivered, the
government should ensure that:

   •   Each PCT’s allocation is publicly known;
   •   PCTs undertake planning jointly with carers, carers’ organisations and
       their local authority;
   •   Each PCT publicly reports on their use of their allocation.

Given the seriousness of the risk to the Prime Minister’s National Carers’
Strategy, we would like to see an indicator of outcomes for carers being moved
from Tier 3 (locally decided) of NHS Vital Signs to Tier 2 (local flexibility within a
national commitment). With 1.3m ordinary citizens caring for fifty or more hours
per week, the Government acknowledges that the NHS would collapse without
carers, so supporting and sustaining them should be a genuine priority.

I would be extremely grateful for any help that you may be able to offer, as would
the thousands of carers in your constituency. We would certainly like the
Secretary of State and our local Primary Care Trust to know how important this
money is to carers.

The report on how this year’s £50m was spent, produced by The Princess Royal
Trust     for   Carers     and     Crossroads       Care,     is    available at

Yours sincerely