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“Carers Week is one of the most important weeks in the year and I welcome this opportunity to celebrate it here at a place that embodies the spirit of caring – St Richard’s Hospice.”
That was the message from Mid Worcestershire MP Peter Luff as he opened the hospice’s annual Carers Day today, Monday. The Carers Day at St Richard’s is held to mark the annual national Carers Week which this year runs from 14th to 20th June.

“Every week my work as an MP proves again and again to me just how important carers are to the people they care for, their families and to the rest of society.

“I see people caring for elderly friends and relatives, for neighbours in distress, for husband or wives with Alzheimer’s, for young people with physical disabilities or learning difficulties, for people of all ages suffering from ME, for those dying from terminal diseases, for children with advanced cancers, and so many others. And each time I pause to wonder at the love and loyalty those carers are showing.

“Love and loyalty may be the motives of carers, but the rest of society must support those who demonstrate such fine sentiments, not exploit them.

“Heroism is an overused word, but carers really are the unsung heroes of our society. There are an estimated six million carers in the UK and each one plays a vital role.”

“Very often the best possible care for the sick, the elderly, the disabled and the infirm will be provided by those who love them and are loyal to them. But that doesn’t mean the rest of us can take their caring work for granted - quite the opposite.

“Without carers it’s obvious that those they care for would suffer – but the rest of us would, quite literally, pay a high price too, as the care provided out of love was instead provided by professionals.

“That means it is right, both morally and practically, for the Government to do as much as it possibly can to support carers. And even in tough economic times, there are still things that can and must be done.”

Speaking later, Peter explained,

“People needing care deserve to be treated with dignity and respect. The Government understands the urgency of reforming the system of social care to provide much more control to individuals and their carers, and to ease the cost burden that they and their families face. So we will:

• break down barriers between health and social care funding to incentivise preventative action,

• extend the greater roll-out of personal budgets to give people and their carers more control and purchasing power,

• use direct payments to carers and better community-based provision to improve access to respite care,

• reform Access to Work, so disabled people can apply for jobs with funding already secured for any adaptations and equipment they will need, and

• establish a commission on long-term care, to report within a year.

“We will all have to await the outcome of the comprehensive spending review over the summer to work through the details of much of this - but I promise you that my ministerial colleagues are working now with civil servants to plan the implementation of our policies.”


Photograph shows Peter Luff with two Occupational Therapists, Sarah Haynes and Dane Garvey at the St Richard’s hospice, Carers Day exhibition

Notes to editors:

Careers Week highlights the vital contribution made by carers to their families and communities in providing unpaid care for someone who is ill, frail or disabled. This year, the theme for the week is ‘A life of my own’ and calls for greater recognition of carers who all too often feel isolated, lonely and pushed to the margins of society.

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