The national carers strategy, “Carers at the Heart of 21st Century Families and Communities”, identified the funding that was available within primary care trust (PCT) baselines to improve support for carers. A copy has already been placed in the Library. It announced that £150 million would be given to PCTs to provide carers’ breaks (£50 million in 2009-10, and £100 million in 2010-11). Although this is new money, it is part of PCT baseline allocations and PCTs have not been advised of individual sums for carers’ breaks. It is for PCTs to decide their priorities for investment locally, taking into account their local circumstances and priorities as set out in the national health service operating framework.
Department directors of NHS Performance and Adult Social Care Performance have written to strategic health authorities to identify where PCTs have agreed with their local authority to prioritise carers’ support for the current year, and those that are likely to prioritise it for the next year. This information will help ensure the Department has a rounded picture when considering the priority afforded to carers in future planning rounds. The Department has ensured that the NHS Operating Framework for 2010-11 brings out the role carers can make as expert partners in care, as well as the need to provide support for them. This includes the provision of carers’ breaks.