I am constantly blown away by the care delivered to many of my clients - and so many other people - by their families as unpaid carers. The unerring devotion and dedication delivered, day in day out - often on top of a 'normal' job, is staggering.
Seeing the figures that there are 6.5 million unpaid carers who deliver the equivalent of £193 billion of care has put into perspective for me the immense economic impact and value of what these wonderful people do - as Rethink Mental Illness has noted the equivalent value of care delivered by unpaid carers is almost a second NHS - working quietly and often unseen in the shadows supporting the NHS and social care sectors.
It is an understatement to say that the country could not cope without the service of unpaid carers but more importantly, the individuals who receive that care could not manage without their loved ones' care and certainly would not have the quality of life they are able to have without the commitment of their unpaid carers.
Quite simply we as a society, and so very many vulnerable individuals, could not manage without unpaid carers. However, that does not mean that it is right that we simply expect that this care will be delivered and available nor should it be expected.
For so many carers, their role is one they HAVE to do - they have no choice other than to meet their loved ones' needs in the absence of any other services.
So this Carers Week I just want to say THANK YOU carers - you are seen, you are valued, and you are not alone. And we as a society need to ensure this recognition, support, and campaign for greater resources is well supported and hopefully better resourced for the future - well beyond Carers Week 2022.
Visible, valued, and supported. Carers we are with you.
Unpaid carers save the country £193 billion every year. Let that sink in for a minute. It’s almost the cost of a second NHS. While it is important to recognise the impact of unpaid carers in financial terms, what really matters are the people behind the number. The stories of love. Of compassion. Of care.