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Volume 486: debated on Monday 12 January 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) what support the NHS national operating framework gives to carers with respite care and funding for short breaks; (246408)

(2) what assistance is provided by his Department for carers' training; and if he will make a statement;

(3) how the NHS national operating framework is intended to assist carers; and if he will make a statement.

The operating framework for the national health service, which sets out the specific business and financial arrangements for the NHS in any given year, first made specific references to supporting carers in the 2008-09 report. The recently published operating framework for 2009-10 goes further. It requires primary care trusts (PCTs) to work with their local authority partners and publish joint plans on how their combined funding will support breaks for carers, including short breaks, in a personalised way.

£150 million will be included in PCT allocations over the next two years. £50 million will be provided in 2009-10 and £100 million in 2010-11. This money will support all carers.

The 2006 White Paper ‘Our health, our care, our say’ announced the New Deal for Carers. It included Caring with Confidence (CwC)—a training programme for carers. The first training commenced in August 2008 and distance-training modules will be available from January 2009. It is being run by a consortium led by the Expert Patients Programme and includes the three main carers’ organisations (Carers UK, Crossroads and the Princess Royal Trust for Carers) and Partners in Policymaking. £4.4 million per year has been allocated to fund this programme.

The delivery of CwC will be through existing local providers of services—whether from the third or statutory sectors. Local providers have been invited to become part of this delivery process, through a nationally advertised tendering process; from this work CwC will put in place a national network of local providers.