"I am aware of the myriad of difficulties carers face and I applaud the selfless and tireless work of carers of all ages. I recognise the valuable contribution they have made, and continue to make, to our society and the country as a whole."
At Andover Hospital, Sir George met Kerry Wincott, Carer Support Manager at the Princess Royal Trust for Carers. The Trust operates from Winchester and Andover Hospitals, providing advice and support for carers. "It was good to see Su MacNamara from the Department of Work and Pensions at the Hospital, explaining to carers the benefits to which they or those they are caring for moight be entitled to."
"I have always regarded carers as the unsung heroes of society.
The Carers (Equal Opportunities) Bill is currently progressing through Parliament and should help them. The Bill will compel local authorities to inform carers of their right to an assessment to determine whether they can receive an allowance with which to purchase respite care, and I fully support the principles behind it. The Bill is currently awaiting its Second Reading in the House of Lords, and since it enjoys the support of the Government it stands a good chance of becoming law."
Talking to carers, Sir George was told that what they really wanted was more flexibility from employers; easier access to day-centres and respite care; and a more user-friendly benefit system.
Kerry Wincott is second from the left, sitting down, in the picture