Headlines: January 14th, 2008

A 5-million pound contract to support the development of an expert carers programme, has been awarded to a constorium including the Expert Patient Programme and carers’ organisations. They will develop a programme to give carers the skills to take contol over their own health and that of the people they look after.

The consortium brings together the Princess Royal Trust for Carers, Carers UK, Crossroads and Partners UK with the Expert Patient Programme. The award of the contract was announced at the latest stage of a far-reaching consultation on how to improve support for the six million carers in Britain.

More than 60 of them met the Prime Minister, the Health Secretary, Alan Johnson, and the Health Minister Ivan Lewis. Members of the new Standing Commission on Carers were also at the event, which debated a range of issues, including local services, income, employment, discrimination and recognition.

The meeting was the latest stage in a consultation which has seen more than 1,700 carers contributing their ideas during events run by the the Department of Health and care organisations. The Health Secretary said the idea was to listen to the experts – the carers themselves. “Our job is to take what we have heard and learnt and ensure that our new strategy builds on this and the progress we have made,” he said.

Gordon Brown also paid tribute to carers. “We know that supporting carers is not just the right thing to do, but vital to ensuring the most vulnerable people in our communities have the care they need when they need it,” he said and added, “What I have heard today, and what carers throughout the country have told us, will form the basis of our new carers strategy.”