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NICE calls for more supportive working arrangements for unpaid carers

Guidelines aim to help carers stay in or return to work

The National Institute for Health and Social Care Excellence (NICE) has published draft guidance which aims to improve the wellbeing of adults who provide unpaid care for people over 16 years old.

The guidelines advise health and social care practitioners to encourage carers to discuss supportive working arrangements with their employers.

It says this might include flexible hours or providing a private space to take personal phone calls.

Gillian Leng, deputy chief executive and director of health and social care at NICE, pointed out that many carers are not aware of the help available to them, so it is important that health and social care practitioners are at the forefront of identifying and supporting them.

“Caring for a loved one can bring a whole host of responsibilities and worries. This guidance hopes to address those concerns and ensure that carers feel supported enough to provide the best possible care for those they look after,” she said.

The guidelines also call on health and social care commissioners to ensure replacement care services are available locally so carers can stay in, enter or return to work, education or training.

Approximately 6.5 million carers in the UK are unpaid with three million balancing work with caring responsibilities.

Madeleine Starr MBE, director of business development and innovation at Carers UK, said being able to discuss flexible working can make all the difference to someone juggling work and care.

“Peer support groups and embedded carers’ champions could be instrumental in supporting unpaid carers to manage their caring role and look after their own needs too,” she added.