Right to breaks for carers

Right to breaks for carers

The Bill proposes amendments to the Carers (Scotland) Act 2016 and to the Social Care (Self-directed Support) (Scotland) Act 2013, mainly with the aim of establishing a right to breaks for carers. The proposed amendments to the Carers Act seek “to deliver a right to personalised short breaks support for carers who need it” while Ministers intend to use existing powers to “maintain a national short breaks fund to enable easy-access support for people in less intensive caring roles”. If you agree with these proposals in the National Care Service Bill click the thumbs up button (👍) below. If you disagree with these proposals click the thumbs down button (👎) below. If you are unsure about the proposals and feel you need to know more about them click the question mark button (❓) below. If you have any additional comments about these proposals please provide them in the comment section below.


At the moment there is no right to break provision for Kinship Carers unless there is a child with a significant level of disability in the home. A significant proportion of Kinship Carers are older and as such the challenges of age with no respite make it extremely challenging for Kinship Carers to remain healthy and be able to recharge batteries. Respite should however not be limited to older Kinship Carers but cross all ages and genders, sibling carers will require respite at the same level as older Kinship Carers. There will be positive impact on the children if their Kinship Carer is more rested. Comparison with foster carers who do have access to respite needs to be the same for all Kinship Carers. Parity with foster carers needs to be across all areas. Will Kinship Carers be entitled to respite if there is a need identified?

Breaks for carers are important but for those with financial and legal responsibility for an adult with a disability there simply needs to be flexibility with devolved funding. The office of the public guardian currently monitors spend made on behalf of those in receipt of care payments.

How would short breaks be calculated? Would it be longer for those who had not had a break for a long time?

Wholeheartedly support the need for a break or respite for unpaid carers, who take on the bulk of responsibility. There also needs to be a greater focus on educational and awareness about certain conditions, like dementia, where the carer is left isolated, with people denying it is an issue, due to social stigma.

I'd prefer a more proactive policy,. Empower people to let their unpaid carer more frequent periods of respite during the day/ week/ month. Joint respite should also be considered, providing additional support to the person to have a 'break' with their wife/ husband/ family. Thereby, enjoying greater family life.

Agree it is needed but at the moment carers who work are particularly disadvantaged. If you earn above the limit, you get no financial support. Most support is aimed at those financially disadvantaged by caring, which is right to do, but the stress levels, lack of time for anything but work and caring leads to burnout.

Splendid, but where will you find the resource (carers) to provide the professional replacement care? Unpaid carers will demand that the replacement care is somebody that the cared-for knows and likes, and that they can trust - and there's already a critical shoretage of care workers. And surely any carer who provides more than 40 hours care per week should be entitled - like any other worker - to 28 days annual leave?

Fine as long as the infrastructure to support this is there. e.g skilled staff to provide 24/7 care and places and opportunities at a local and national level that the Carer can access

Need more details on how the Carers Act will be changed so as to ensure Carers Rights are enshrined in law? These short breaks cannot be inflexible and they need to be done well and with Carers in mind. Will there be a LEGAL right to a short break? Will it be for immediate use or take months to get it? Will it include financial support so as to enable the unpaid Carer to be able to take advantage of the break on offer, since for me to take a break my sister needs to pay to fly over to Scotland?

I have money from our short breaks fund here but my daughter needs medical as well as social care and we have found nowhere to spend the money. We are 80 and will need care ourselves soon so what to do

There needs to be a choice of type of short break/ respite. And it should not be based on what is the cheapest but on the needs and wishes of the carer first and foremost. Without unpaid carers the whole system of health and care would collapse!

Carers need to have breaks and recharge. Agree with this. Would this be means tested?

As an unpaid carer I can't remember the last time I had a short break as there is nowhere for my daughter to go while I am away. Not all cared for can be put in a home to give their carer a break.

Presently unpaid carers have difficulty in accessing a break due to the lack of suitable replacement care. This right to breaks for carers shall only increase the demand. What is the SG going to do to ensure that the supply meets the demand. If there is no strategy/action plan in place this right to a break will not be met and yet again Unpaid Carers shall be let down by the SG.

I agree that carers need breaks but respite is under provisioned. There aren't enough registered respite services in Scotland to provide the required respite for everyone who needs it! Again this will come down to infrastructure and funding!

Feel most strongly that these should be a right for carers to have breaks and that breaks for carers who need it funded would be a good thing

I totally agree with this, however services to provide carers with a short break have diminished / disappeared during covid. Giving carers SDS / Direct Payment is not the answer either. There are currently very limited services for carers to access a short break.

Our group discussion with 10 unpaid carers, 6 carer centre staff and 4 health and social care professionals was overwhelmingly in favour of a right to breaks for carers, but there was concern about how this would work. The shortage of social care staff and Covid pandemic have meant many carers going without breaks even when there is an assessed need (and even when there is a self-directed support budget available). Without investment in a range of flexible respite services, day care services and personalised replacement care in the carer's home, carers with a heavy caring role cannot have breaks. Many report not even being able to attend their own medical appointments due to lack of someone to stay with their cared-for person. There are also some conditions where there is no suitable respite available, e.g. for adults with moderate learning disabilities, so their families never get a break. Carers did like the trust implicit in there being no eligibility criteria.

In principle, the right to short breaks is to be welcomed. In recent years, there has been an increasing tendency to take support from unpaid carers for granted. Social care assessment should only take into account the degree to which a carer is able and willing to provide support, Most carers unflinchingly provide support for their loved ones - often to the point of exhaustion and where they have no lives to themselves. They are however under no legal obligation to provide care to adult family members - and the right to short breaks should not be seen as imposing one. I would suggest that the relevant sections in the Bill should make clear that the right to short breaks does not impose any legal obligation on a carer which does not already exist in law. Authorities will have to be supported to develop a range of support services to meet these needs - needs cannot always be met by securing a personal assistant or offering a direct payment.

Essential to maintain staff employment and recruitment. Carers can experience ‘burn out’. Short breaks away will reduce the risk.

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