2 June 2008
"CARERS CAN’T AFFORD TO BE ILL"
LOCAL MP JOINS PAM FERRIS TO SUPPORT UK CARERS
Lynne Jones MP has teamed up with charity ambassador and TV & Film actress, Pam Ferris, to show her support for carers in Birmingham who are amongst the six million people in the UK who tirelessly devote their time, efforts and energy to looking after a loved one.
Lynne Jones met up with Pam, best known for her roles as Ma Larkin from the TV series "The Darling Buds of May" and more recently Aunt Marge in the Harry Potter films, to help launch Carers Week (9-15 June 2008) and pay tribute to the huge contribution that carers make, every day of the year, to those they look after and to their communities.
The week – now in its 14th year – tackles the issue of carers’ health with a hard-hitting campaign headlining the sobering fact that; "Carers can’t afford to be ill."
A national survey of 2,000 carers reveals that a large majority feel their health is worse as a result of the strain of caring (for many, up to 24 hours a day, 7 days a week). The full results of the survey – to be released across the UK at the start of Carers Week next week (9 June) - also highlights that many carers frequently neglect their health, and often have no-one to talk to about their concerns or daily difficulties.
Dr Jones said: "There are six million carers in the UK, including many in Birmingham. It is a nationwide issue that affects so many people at a local level and it’s vital to get the message out to carers that they are appreciated and more help and support is now available to them than ever before.
I recently chaired a special joint meeting between the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Carers and the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Mental Health, on the subject of mental health carers in the UK. 1.5 million of our unpaid carers look after someone with mental health problems and as carers their needs often go unnoticed. The Minister for Care Services, Ivan Lewis MP, who is in charge of the National Carers Strategy review, spoke at the meeting. Other speakers included Sanchia Redston, a mental health carer, as well as representatives from the Princess Royal Trust for Carers and Northamptonshire NHS Healthcare Trust (more details at: http://www.lynnejones.org.uk/d0515.may2008.htm )
I hope that by drawing attention to Carers Week with Pam, many more of my constituents who spend their lives looking after others will realise they are not alone and that there are people who care about them, too."
Dr Jones has also signed up to a parliamentary motion (EDM 1369) which publicises the fact that large numbers of carers are not known to statutory agencies, and their health needs are often overlooked.
Pam Ferris added: "I’m very happy to be involved in Carers Week and to help raise awareness of the many issues that affect carers across the UK, often adding further difficulties and anxiety to their lives.
I have personal experience of caring for loved ones and know how draining it can be, and how important it is to have support from friends, family and healthcare professionals. But if you can take some time to also look after yourself, caring can be an immensely fulfilling and rewarding experience."
A host of other well-known faces are supporting Carers Week, including Paul O’Grady, Tony Robinson and media health experts, Dr Miriam Stoppard and Dr Chris Steele.
Notes to editors
Carers Week is a partnership of 10 UK-wide charities working together; Carers UK, Counsel and Care; Crossroads Caring for Carers, Help the Hospices, Independent Age, Macmillan Cancer Support, MS Society, Neurological Alliance, The Princess Royal Trust for Carers and WRVS
For more information about Carers Week, please visit www.carersweek.org
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