Carers’ A&E visits preventable with more local support, Carer UK advises

A report conducted by Carers UK has advised that one in 10 unpaid carers who called 999 or took their loved one to A&E did so because they had not been educated on what process to take in key care situations, and because of a lack of local support.

A survey by the group showed that one in five used A&E because they could not get hold of a GP or district nurse. It warned that the rise in A&E visits was partly due to a lack of local care and support services.

It has been estimated that there are about 6.5 million unpaid carers in the UK providing support for a vulnerable family member.

In the report, Pressure Points: carers and the NHS, the charity bases data from two surveys - one on how carers use emergency services from 2015 and another, from 2016, on support for carers after their family member is discharged from hospital.

The information compiled from the questionnaires found that 1,000 (of the 5,000) said they had called 999 or A&E in the previous 12 months because of health concerns for the person for whom they cared.

Furthermore, 30 per cent of carers said their use of A&E could have been prevented.

The respondents agreed that better local support for the person in care would have significantly helped in avoiding a crisis situation.

Helena Herklots, chief executive of Carers UK, With more and more families picking up caring responsibilities and older people with care needs being encouraged to stay at home for longer, a step-change is urgently needed to boost investment in community services and involve carers in decisions about the support they, and their loved ones, need to manage at home."

A spokesmen for the Department of Health commented: “Local authorities are being given more money - up to £3.5 billion extra - for adult social care by 2019/20 and by 2020 we will be investing an extra £10 billion a year so the NHS can introduce its own plan for the future and help fewer people go to hospital in the first place."