Carers, despite the important responsibilities and tasks which they are expected to undertake, are among the most hidden and neglected groups of citizens in modern societies. The following proposals are intended to form the basis of a general proclamation to ensure that their work is better recognised and their rights properly met. They are not intended to replace or interfere with national laws or regulations. Their aim is to provide brief pointers for evaluating and improving the overall quality of support being made available to caregivers.
- The various roles undertaken by carers deserve full acknowledgement and suitable support packages from a genuinely integrated health and social care service. Government departments, local authorities and providers of social care and community health all have duties in ensuring that this help is of a high standard and fully in line with a national charter of rights and responsibilities.
- Carers should always be supplied with appropriate information and documentation concerning official, local and legislative matters which relate to their rights and entitlements including those pertaining to professional assistance, personal wellbeing, financial benefits, and complaints and redress procedures.
- The ‘voice’ of caregivers should be listened to and receive close attention and consideration. It is essential that there are efficient methods of ascertaining, and responding to, carers’ views and evaluations across the complete range of aid and assistance.
- Good practice necessitates that unpaid carers of all ages have individualised ‘adult carer support plans’ or ‘young person statements’ which address their personal, psychological, economic and social needs. The quality of planning should be exemplary and clearly record the help which will be made available. The contents of plans and statements ought to be agreed and fully implemented through positive and efficient collaboration involving, as appropriate, professionals, voluntary agencies and other key persons.
- All carers should have open admittance to good medical provision, including relevant resources relating to mental health. Codes of practice should ensure that they are not overburdened or unduly distressed. If required, young carers and unpaid adult carers ought to have access to respite provision and well-organised recreational breaks.
- Services should operate within an integrated and empathetic network which has a well-defined focus on the welfare and wellbeing of both cared-for persons and their carers. If appropriate, and with due regard to confidentiality and the right to information, carers will be provided with up-to-date copies of the support and planning arrangements of those for whom they have responsibilities.
- At both local and national levels, caregivers ought to be able to obtain access to relevant advice, guidance and training applicable to the duties and tasks which they are expected to carry out.
- Well-judged procedures should be in place, and consistently monitored, to assist young and adult carers at all stages of their education and training. These should include arrangements relating to counselling and advocacy, health and welfare, funding and progress during their time at school, vocational training, and further and higher education.
- Professional/paid social carers should have payments, expenses, conditions of employment and holiday arrangements on a par with all those undertaking equivalent work within a national framework of integrated health and care.
 The terms ‘adult carer support plan’ and ‘young carer statement’ are used in Scotland. Other nomenclature may apply across nations.