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Health and Care Bill 2021 - a statutory duty on the NHS to have regard to carers and to promote their health and wellbeing

Carers UK is calling for the NHS to be given new legal responsibilities towards unpaid carers.

Please sign up here if you wish to support our campaign.

The Department for Health and Social Care (DHSC) recently published a White Paper called ‘Working together to improve health and social care for all’. The stated aim of the White Paper and future Bill is to improve the health and wellbeing of local people and support the recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.

The NHS depends heavily on the role and input of people who care unpaid in supporting those with long term conditions and disabilities in the community. The Covid-19 pandemic has shone a light on the essential role of unpaid carers in supporting the NHS and social care systems. Despite this, there was no explicit mention of unpaid carers in the White Paper proposals for the Bill. Carers UK has written to Government to express its deep concern at this omission.

Not only do carers deserve to be recognised for the important support they provide, but the aims for integration between health and social care systems can only work if unpaid carers are visible, recognised and counted as part of the NHS.

We are calling for carers to be a clear part of the reforms that are being proposed by Government. Carers must be explicitly referenced in the future legislation.  


In the forthcoming Bill we are calling for:

  • A duty on the NHS to have regard to carers and to promote their health and wellbeing.
  • Clear and explicit references to carers where there are duties for new or existing bodies to consult patients and the community.
  • A carer representative on key decision-making bodies.
  • Clear inclusion of carers in the Care Quality Commission’s proposed new responsibilities around the Care Act 2014.
  • Explicit safeguards for carers’ rights under the Care Act 2014, if the requirements for assessment and discharge notices are removed.

This Bill presents an opportunity to acknowledge the role of carers in supporting our health and social care systems and provide support for them to look after themselves and the person they care for.

We will be working to achieve the above goals and we would like to have as many organisations as possible to support our campaign. 

Please sign up here if you wish to support our campaign.

For more information, please see our detailed briefing on the White Paper.

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