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Ritchie and McGimpsey Launch a Review of Support Provision for Carers

Friday, 6 November 2009

A Review of Support Provision for Carers has today been launched by Minister for Social Development, Margaret Ritchie and the Minister for Health, Social Services and Public Safety, Michael McGimpsey.

The 2001 census estimated that there are approximately 185,000 informal carers in Northern Ireland spending from 1 hour to over 50 hours caring for family, friends or neighbours each week.

The purpose of the Review was to examine the support for carers following on from the Review of the National Carers’ Strategy in Britain.

The Review has made 15 recommendations to the Departments; four for the Department for Social Development; 10 for the Department of Health, Social Services and Public Safety and one to be taken forward jointly.

Margaret Ritchie said: "There is an enormous contribution made by those who have the responsibility of caring for others and there is no doubt that it is of great value to the wider community as well as to the people for whom they are caring.

"I intend to implement the recommendations from this Review and to give a high priority to carers’ issues in my future discussions with the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions.

“My Department will work with the Department for Work and Pensions to reform carers’ benefits to seek to create a system that provides support where it is most needed and that is flexible enough to meet the wide range of needs that carers have. In the meantime the Social Security Agency will continue to promote benefit uptake to ensure that carers in Northern Ireland are receiving the full financial assistance to which they are entitled."

Michael McGimpsey said: "It was evident during the course of this Review that there are a large number of carers in Northern Ireland who willingly make an invaluable contribution in caring for family members or friends.

"There is evidence of a committed and caring health and social care workforce, and many examples of good practice have emerged, however there is still progress to be made. More work needs to be done to ensure that policy, guidance and standards are implemented effectively and on a consistent basis. I hope that this Review will reinvigorate the planning and provision of support services for carers. My Department will take forward the recommendations which have resulted from this review to ensure that carers in Northern Ireland receive the highest quality support services which they undoubtedly deserve."


Notes to editors:

  1. 1. The Review of Support Provision for Carers was carried out by a team comprising of officials from both the DSD and DHSSPS and was independently validated by Professor Judith Hill, CBE, Chief Executive, Northern Ireland Hospice.
  2. 2. The report is available on the DSD and DHSSPS websites at the following web addresses:
    - to external website
    - link to external website