chapter  12
Unpaid work, carers and health
ByMaria Evandrou
Pages 29

Health and social care provision to people with physical or mental impairments, or to frail elderly people, constitutes a major social policy issue in Britain (Parker and Lawton 1994; Allen and Perkins 1995). With the family providing the bulk of support, informal carers are pivotal in maintaining disabled and frail people in the community. However, only recently have carers been formally placed in the policy arena. It is now the formal responsibility of state service providers to assess carers for community care support. Whilst the government White Paper Caring for People (DoH 1989) explicitly located support for carers within state providers’ responsibilities, the NHS and Community Care Act 1990 was silent on this. The Carers’ (Recognition and Services) Act 1995 redresses this somewhat. Under the 1995 Act, local authorities are formally obliged to carry out a separate assessment of the carer when assessing the cared-for-person for service support. What is critical here is that carers’ views, their circumstances and their ability to continue providing care support should be taken into account when the needs of the dependent person are reviewed and a care package developed.