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Carers and caring

South Lanarkshire Health and Social Care Partnership (SLHSCP) recognises carers as Equal Partners in Care.

Carers have a unique role in the life of the person they care for. When we are planning and delivering care for that person, it is important that we involve their carer. They have valuable knowledge to contribute, and any decision will impact their caring role.

Carers, the person they care for, workers from health and social work, and our voluntary sector partners all work together as partners in care to achieve better outcomes for all involved. Carers have the right to play an equal and active role in care planning and decisions. This does not mean that all carers are the same or that the caring is shared equally. Every carer has a different and unique role, but the same right to have the support and information they need and to be as involved as they choose to be. Equality is about having rights and choices.

The impact of being an unpaid carer can vary. It is unlikely to be ‘all good’ or ‘all bad’ but will depend on the individual, and their unique set of circumstances will vary from month to month, day to day, or even hour to hour depending on their role. Factors including gender, culture, age, income, life roles, family history and relationships, and work status can all impact the individual's experience of being an unpaid carer.

Prevention is crucial in supporting unpaid carers and the people that they care for. Intervention and support at an early stage in an unpaid carer’s journey can promote quality of life, independence, and engagement with their community. Early intervention can prevent deterioration in the caring situation.

Fundamentally, supporting unpaid carers can result in better outcomes for them and for the people they care for and can support more effective use of health and care services.

As required by section 36 of the Carers (Scotland) Act the Scottish Ministers have prepared a Carers' charter, setting out the rights of carers in or under the Act.

The contribution of unpaid carers is critical to the sustainability of the health and social care system. The importance of carers is reflected in the Scottish Government commissioned Independent Review of Adult Social Care and the proposed legislation for a National Care Service.

The latest figures show around 696,000 carers living in Scotland, including 28,000 young carers (Scotland’s Carers Update Release: December 2022).

In South Lanarkshire there are an estimated 40,000 carers.