Suffiolk: County boasts nearly 80,000 unpaid carers, figures reveal ahead of Carers Week
- Credit: PA
Suffolk has nearly 80,000 unpaid carers – with many working more than 20 hours a week looking after loved ones, it has today been revealed.
Figures published by the GMB trade union show Suffolk has a total of 77,745 carers – more than 10% of the county’s population.
And in a separate report, due to be published by Carers Week next week, it is revealed that 94% of carers in the East of England feel more stressed because of their caring role with 60% experiencing depression.
Paul Hayes, GMB regional secretary, said the majority of carers are women.
He added: “This huge hidden army of unpaid often voice-less carers saves taxpayers billion every year.
“Carers often experience depression, and emotional and physical exhaustion.”
Figures show that more than 66% of Suffolk’s carers provide between one and 20 hours of unpaid care a week with the remainder providing more than 20 hours a week.
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Calling for a radical overhaul of the current approach to paid and unpaid care, Mr Hayes added: “There just isn’t the adequate support in place for carers.
“It is not just comprehensive support that these unpaid carers need but also emotional support including respite and short breaks.”
The new comes after charity Suffolk Family Carers expressed concern at the rising number of young carers in the county describing an estimated 4,500 young people already providing unpaid care as the “tip of the iceberg.”.
Helen Clarke, Carers Week manager, said: “The impact of caring for a loved one or friend is an issue that we simply cannot ignore.
“Carers aren’t being offered support and if they are, iut can often be wrong or not the full information.
“It is vital that GPs, health and social care professionals and the government all play a role to ensure that carers are offered the support they deserve from day one.”
Carers Week takes place from June 10 to 16.
For more information visit www.carersweek.org