What is the Carers Act?  Who is it for?  How can it help me?

The Carers (Scotland) Act 2016 came into effect on 1 April 2018, following a development period of over two years. The Act places an emphasis on recognising the significant contribution carers make to their local communities and support carers to thrive and to continue to make a long-lasting and positive contribution for as long as they wish to.

The Act contributes to the government’s vision of a healthier and fairer Scotland.  It exists alongside policies on integrated health and social care, new social security powers, and the fair work agenda.

The Act supports outcome six of the national health and wellbeing outcome framework – People who provide unpaid care are supported to look after their own health and wellbeing, including to reduce any negative impact of their caring role on their own health and well-being.

We have taken the time to reflect on how the measures in the Carers Act will act as a catalyst to support the delivery of Fife Health and Social Care Partnership’s strategic plan to support carers (and the people they care for) through –

Prevention and early intervention including improved ‘access to information, advice and support to people and their carers to lead healthier lifestyles and remain as independent as possible.’

‘Anticipatory care planning’, and ‘early intervention…’, and with regard to improving mental health, ‘maximising the participation and inclusion of people with whom we work, together with their carers’.

The Act will enable carers to maintain, and thrive in, their caring roles while balancing their personal life plans.  To do so we will:

Improve the universal information and advice to all carers with easier to access information available in the right places at the right times.

Offer support to any carer who wants to prepare a person-centred outcome-focused Adult Carer’s Support Plan or Young Carer’s Statement through a direct conversation.

Offer individually tailored support to the carer for those carers who meet the locally set Fife Eligibility Criteria.

Ensure support is available to carers to prepare Emergency Plans including anticipating their future needs.

In addition to the Act, the Scottish Government has set out a Carers’ Charter. This is an easy to understand document that sets out clearly the rights carers can expect to have.