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The Deputy Minister for Health and Social Services highlighted the positive impact that the 2014 Act is having for carers, but recognising, as identified by carers feedback in the Carers Wales “Track the Act” annual survey, that more needs to be done to understand and tackle barriers. She re-affirmed her commitment to a new national plan, which would include how to address barriers.

She gave a verbal update on her recent visit to Scotland where she had met with the Chief Executive of Shared Care Scotland, Don Williamson, to discuss how their Scottish Government funded provision targets and supports carers in accessing a range of short breaks activity. They also discussed the Scottish model of the 'Respitality' scheme.

The Deputy Minister also raised the subject of funding from Welsh Government in support for carers highlighting a number of different measures, including the £1m annual allocation split across the Local Health Boards to work with their carer partnerships.

She flagged the additional £15 million of extra funding for the Integrated Care Fund, which was for targeting adults with care and support needs, and for carers. All such funding should however be seen as being for their specific purposes, with the primary source for all carers being the £9 billion per annum for health and social care, with the 2014 Act clearly identifying carer entitlements to access services and support from mainstream funded provision.

The value of sharing good practice and research was illustrated as Dr Vanessa Webb of Swansea University presented an overview of her research about young carers, which was followed by Simon Hatch of Carers Trust Wales whose organisation plays a key role in supporting young carers across Wales. Dr Webb’s research focussed on outcomes in relation to young carers’ education, emotional intelligence, health and social capital. Simon Hatch’s presentation focussed on specific analysis of young carers’ understanding of their rights and what those means to them. The Deputy Minister had earlier confirmed her commitment to the progression of the Young Carers ID card scheme.

Claire Morgan (Carers Wales) provided a brief summary of Carers Wales’ Track the Act 4 annual survey which had recently been published. Members were asked to consider the issues raised and consider the new national plan for carers as a focal point for addressing them.

The Chair gave an update on carers’ activity covering:

  • brief recap of the context – legislative, financial and policy
  • issues identified in a range of recent research reports and directly
  • areas in scope for discussion to develop a carers’ national plan; and the next steps and timescales for activity

Members agreed the next meeting would be a workshop to discuss key areas relating to the creation of a new strategic action plan.

Kate Young, Chief Executive of the All Wales Forum gave a very brief update on the progress of the RPB and carers’ representatives project work. The findings of this work will be brought back to the MAG, for members to understand what each region is doing to increase engagement for carers in the RPB networks.

Action points

  • all members to consider up to three areas/ issues that should be addressed though the new national plan, and bring these to the next MAG meeting for discussion
  • Dr Seddon to provide a short paper outlining her research on short breaks for carers
  • updates on the Engagement and Accountability Group and Regional Partnership Boards and carers work were distributed to members following this meeting