Why is the Respite Grant Ending?
Carers provide invaluable support to people living with a range of health care problems. It is important that carers' needs are identified and addressed so they can stay well. Brent Council has a duty to identify carers with unmet needs in the local population. Healthcare services help in four ways.
- The Department of Health provides funding for carers directly to Brent Council;
- Healthcare providers encourage carers to have an assessment of their own needs;
- Healthcare providers have a duty to cooperate in providing health services for carers;
- And NHS Brent CCG works with Brent Council to design services that help carers to stay well.
In 2012/13, the Department of Health provided funding to support carers who were not eligible for an assessment of their needs. In Brent, this funding was used to provide the respite grant. Under the Care Act 2014, the law changed, removing the old eligibility restrictions for a carer assessment. From April 2015, any carer with any level of need is entitled to a carer assessment through the Local Authority.
In 2012/13, the Department of Health provided funding to Brent Primary Care Trust for carer support. In Brent, this funding was used to provide the respite grant. From 2014 onwards, the Department of Health provided carer funding directly to Brent Council, and did not provide funding to CCGs for carers. NHS Brent CCG continued to fund the respite grant from 2014 to 2016, until it was reviewed. NHS Brent CCG continues to provide Brent Council with £200,000 each year to support other services for carers that prevent illness and promote wellbeing.
From 2014 to 2016, the respite grant continued to be funded by the NHS Brent CCG. The data showed that around 150 carers each year received a one-off, financial grant of either £840 or £500. The value of the grant was unrelated to the carer's needs. There was no routine follow-up to see whether this financial support led to sustained improvements in the carer's health and wellbeing. In 2016, a local multi-agency review group concluded that there would be better value for money if NHS Brent CCG and Brent Council jointly developed services that helped carers prevent illness.
The carer assessment is about more than just financial support. The assessment provides a comprehensive review of a carer's needs in order to stay well, and to give the carer a plan with:
- things you can do to stay well;
- practical ways to stay socially active in your local community;
- referrals to health services that may be relevant;and advice on any carers benefits or personal carer budgets.
The plan helps put in place different types of support, such as time from support workers, arrangements for residential care, and options for direct payments. The Brent Carers Hub and peer support services can help carers put their plans into action. The workers at the hub can also give carers practical advice to obtain a break from, or to better cope with, their caring role.
Brent Council, NHS Brent CCG, and Brent Carers Hub are jointly updating their strategy for carers. Carers can provide comments directly through:
Brent Council customer services: 020 8937 1234
NHS Brent CCG enquiries email: BRECCG.Brentenquiries@nhs.net
Brent Carers Hub telephone line: 020 3802 7070.