Bill required to help bereaved carers recover, say Marie Curie Sue Ryder and Reform Scotland
The Scottish Parliament will tonight debate a series of recommendations for major changes in the support offered to carers after the person they have cared for dies.
The proposals – created by Marie Curie, Sue Ryder and Reform Scotland – are contained in the joint report Life After Death: supporting carers after bereavement (see notes to editors). The trio has also put together this briefing note (see below) for tonight’s Scottish Parliament Member’s Business, led by Mark Griffin MSP.
They call for more recognition of the impact of death on the carer and the effect on the carer’s physical and mental health, their relationships, their ability to work and their finances. Specifically, they are asking all political parties to make a manifesto commitment ahead of the 2021 Scottish Parliament election to:
- A new Carers (Bereavement Support) (Scotland) Bill early in the next Parliament to provide information and a plan to support carers following the end of their caring role.
- A new fund to support training and education for carers returning to work/seeking employment.
- A new Post-Caring Support Payment, linked to the length of time caring, to help carers struggling financially following the end of their caring role.
- To extend eligibility for the Carer’s Allowance and Carer’s Allowance Supplement for up to 6 months after the person’s caring role comes to an end (from the current 8 weeks).
Pamela MacKenzie, Director of Scotland at Sue Ryder, which provides specialist end of life care and online bereavement support, said:
“It is estimated that in Scotland up to 50,000 carers are bereaved every year. But bereavement is far from the end of a carer’s journey, and indeed the challenges faced by a carer can intensify after the death of the person for whom they are caring.
“As a nation, we can go much further in offering carers help to recover once their caring role has ended. This would be invaluable not just to the bearer, but would be an investment by us all in re-integrating carers back into the workforce and back into the lives they want to lead.”
Richard Meade, Head of Policy and Public Affairs Scotland at Marie Curie, which supports people through terminal illness, added:
“We need to see a strong commitment from the Scottish Government to address the needs of carers following a bereavement. Carers have often been left to pick-up the pieces on their own, whether that is financially, emotionally or when trying to return to aspects of their former lives, like work. Far too often the system fails them and they are left behind. We need this to change.
“The impact COVID has had on bereavement this year has been significant, exacerbating grief for many, and leaving people isolated and unsure of where to turn to support. The Scottish Parliament and all political parties can send a strong message tonight that carers matter and that more will be done to give them the support they need.”
Alison Payne, Research Director at Reform Scotland, said:
“Carers are the often unseen, and unsung, heroes of so many people in this country. Their sacrifice is absolute, their dedication to their loved one unfaltering. Yet it is the sad reality that life after care has ended can be stressful, uncertain and gloomy. As a country, we are not doing enough to support them.
“Now is the time to put that right. We want to see all parties, ahead of next May’s election, to make a manifesto commitment to deliver our four proposals.”
NOTES TO EDITORS
- This evening’s Scottish Parliament Member’s Business will be Mark Griffin MSP’s motion S5M- 22523: Life After Death, Supporting Carers After Bereavement. The briefing note by Sue Ryder, Marie Curie and Reform Scotland can be read below.
- Life After Death: supporting carers after bereavement – the three organisations’ original paper – can be read here.
- Sue Ryder supports people through the most difficult times of their lives. Whether that’s a terminal illness, the loss of a loved one or a neurological condition – we’re there when it matters. For over 65 years our doctors, nurses and carers have given people the compassion and expert care they need to help them live the best life they possibly can. We take the time to understand what’s important to people and give them choice and control over their care. For some this may mean specialist care in one of our centres, whilst others might need support in their own home. Find out more by visiting www.sueryder.org or following us on Twitter @Sue_Ryder
- Marie Curie Nurses, doctors and hospice staff are on the frontline of the Coronavirus crisis. Every day they are helping to support dying people to be cared for away from hospital when every bit of available capacity is needed to care for people diagnosed with the virus, and we are also providing care to those who have tested positive for coronavirus in our hospices and who are suspected as having the virus at home across the UK. Marie Curie Free Support Line: The Marie Curie Information and Support line (0800 090 2309) can help with information about all aspects of end of life or grieving, whether you have practical, emotional or financial questions or concerns, or if you just want someone to talk to. Nurses are also available to talk to on the line. For more information, visit www.mariecurie.org.uk/support. Marie Curie’s Emergency Funding Appeal: Donate online at www.mariecurie.org.uk/emergency or text NURSE to 70633 to help us reach the families who need us. Texts cost £5 plus 1 standard rate message. 98% is received by Marie Curie. To unsubscribe text OUT to 78866. Talk About Dying, Death & Bereavement: Marie Curie can help you and your family open conversations around death and dying. Visit www.mariecurie.org.uk/talkabout to find ideas and tools to help you get started. A National Day to #UniteInMemory: One million people have been bereaved since lockdown with every death from coronavirus or another cause devastating for friends and family. A National Day to reflect, grieve and remember all the people who’ve lost their lives will be held on 23 March 2021.
- Reform Scotland is an independent, non-party think tank that aims to set out a better way to deliver increased economic prosperity and more effective public services based on the traditional Scottish principles of limited government, diversity and personal responsibility. Further information is available at www.reformscotland.com.
- Media: For Sue Ryder, 07773 200 759 or email@example.com; For Marie Curie, 0845 073 8699 or firstname.lastname@example.org; For Reform Scotland, Message Matters (Andy Maciver, 07855 261 244, email@example.com)