Published: 26 November 2020
Thursday 26 November is Carers Rights Day and the East Renfrewshire Health and Social Care Partnership (HSCP) is encouraging all residents with caring duties to know their rights.
Before the Covid-19 pandemic there were an estimated 690,000 carers in Scotland, but recent polling undertaken by YouGov suggests this figure could have increased by an additional 392,000 since Covid-19 and lockdown.
This would take the total potential number of carers in Scotland to around 1.1 million. Over 227,000 (58%) Scots who have started caring since the outbreak are also juggling paid work alongside their caring responsibilities.
In East Renfrewshire it's estimated there are over 15,000 working carers.
One of the HSCPs strategic priorities is to 'work together with people who care for someone, ensuring they are able to exercise choice and control in relation to their caring activities.'
To achieve this, the HSCP has appointed a Carers Lead whose role is to ensure that carers needs become an embedded priority in all health and social care planning in the area, and to link with council, NHSGGC and third sector colleagues who are delivering services in East Renfrewshire.
Locally, there's a range of support available to help improve carers' quality of life. This includes advice and information on carers rights, on short breaks services, legal and financial matters, on health and wellbeing, as well as advocacy, practical and emotional support. We work closely with the East Renfrewshire Carers' Centre to listen to, support and inform carers.
Councillor Caroline Bamforth, Chair of the East Renfrewshire Integration Joint Board, said: 'It's important to raise awareness of working carers' rights as they essentially have two jobs and experience a lot of pressure and often loneliness. 2020 has been a particular challenge and this day highlights the importance of supporting working carers.
'In Scotland, working carers have statutory rights which gives them protection from discrimination, the right to time off in emergencies and the right to flexible working. Many employers also offer contractual rights and have policies in place to support staff who are providing help and support to a family member or friend, so it's worth taking the time to understand your rights if you are a carer.'
Mark Mulhern, Manager of East Renfrewshire Carers' Centre, added: 'It's important to highlight that most people do not think of themselves as a carer, they are just mum or dad, son or daughter, friend or neighbour. Most carers don't come forward and ask for advice or support and if they do it is often very late in their caring journey and in response to a crisis or emergency situation.
'For many carers just having the opportunity to talk to someone about their caring role can bring enormous benefits.
'There's excellent support available to carers in East Renfrewshire and all enquiries will be treated with respect and in confidence.'
East Renfrewshire Carers' Centre
Phone: 0141 638 4888
More information on the support available to carers is available on the NHS Inform website or by phoning 0800 011 3200. Lines are open Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm.