The Hidden Health & Social Care Workforce

28th January 2016, is National Young Carers Day, a day to celebrate the amazing contributions young carers make to the daily life of so many families in Britain.

We need to celebrate their contribution and shout it from the roof tops because so many of us have absolutely no idea what a young carers is and worse do not believe that young people are involved in such high level intensive caring.

In fact we have been faced with people arguing with us that if young people are involved in such caring they should be removed from home immediately as they are being abused by bad parents.

This is the sort of attitude that results in 70% of young carers never asking for support, remaining hidden from view and being ashamed / embarrassed by the caring they do.

So to-day let’s celebrate and show respect for the 700,000+ young people aged 17 and under who act as unpaid family carers, caring for family members who are ill, disabled, have addictions and possible poor mental health........people who need caring for-not bad parents but ill parents.


·         70% of young carers are “Hidden” with no support.

·         Over 100,000 young carers carry out more than 50 hrs caring a week.

·         The youngest supported by Salford Young Carers Service is aged 4, living alone with an ill mother.

·         Unpaid family carers, nationally, of all ages save the economy over £132 billion per year.

·         Young Carers are unable to claim carers allowance for the caring they undertake, even those who live on their own with the cared for.

·         8% of young people will have some level of caring role, that’s 2/3 in every class room, 80 in a school of 1,000 pupils.

·         Young carers struggle at times with the extra pressure of education, poor attendance/punctuality, and on average get 9 grades lower than their peers. Yet they still want to go onto to University, still want to achieve in their lives.

·         75% are bullied for no other reason than being a carer

·         Young carers are 20% more likely to be NEET than their peers.

·         In Salford 75% of young carers surveyed had feelings of depression / stress in the previous 12 months.

What would you do if faced with a work force operating with those initial disadvantages? A work force having to deal with all those added pressures of being a carer and societies attitudes towards caring?

Well we do every day-60% of all our work forces will face caring responsibilities at some point in their lives, affecting not only them but also the environments they live / work in.

 It is time we took caring at all levels, & for all age groups serious, look at the appropriate levels of support, look at how we can developed their resilience & skills and recognised the role that they actually play in society.

In Salford the situation is as follows; 

 Some 10% of the population of Salford provide unpaid care to family members and others – around 23,500 people (2011 Census), not taking account the approximately 3,000 young carers.

This is a 4.3% increase on the previous Census, with a 25.2% increase in those caring for 20-49 hours per week and a 13% increase in those caring for 50 hours or more.

  In effect, some 70% of the health and social care ‘workforce’ in Salford are unpaid carers – a great asset of skills, knowledge, determination and resilience. They are already providing a huge amount of care outside hospitals and care homes, and preventing very costly admissions to them.

 National figures indicate that each carer saves the state an average of around £20,000 per year, suggesting a minimum of £468 million worth of care being provided by unpaid carers in Salford. Yet, health and social care workforce planning has historically focussed exclusively on paid health and social care staff. Whether those caring are paid or unpaid, they all deserve equitable recognition, support and development.


Carers should be treated as the major part of a suitably skilled workforce with appropriate working conditions, in order to achieve the transformation and new ways of working to which Salford aspires.

 Invest in carers of all ages, build on and learn from their skills, they are the majority of the work force in Health & Social Care.


So today make the commitment to raise awareness of carers’ issues for all age groups, help the identification of the hidden carers, ensuring they get the support they need and deserve and make the promise to yourself that all carers you meet with be treated with respect......


Respect and recognition is the way forward.