Tackle the carers' crisis

Do you care about carers? We are campaigning to make sure the 1.5 million people in the UK who look after a family member, friend or neighbour with cancer get the support they need.

What's the problem?

  • Almost 1.5 million people in the UK look after a friend or family member with cancer.
  • More than half of carers aren’t getting the support they need.
  • Carers are spending an average of 17.5 hours a week looking after a loved one with cancer.

Many people don’t see themselves as carers and often aren’t identified by health and social care professionals. This means they miss out on vital emotional, financial or practical support and don’t know where to turn for help.

Without support many carers struggle to cope. Their finances, family life and ability to work can all be affected. Many suffer from problems such as stress, anxiety and depression. They may even reach breaking point and become ill themselves. No one should have to cope on their own when caring for someone with cancer.

What we are doing for carers across the UK

Wherever you live in the UK we are campaigning to improve the support carers receive.

England

In England we are campaigning to influence the new Carers’ Strategy which will set out how carers will be supported over the next five years.

15,115 campaigners signed our petition calling on the new strategy to take into account the needs of people who care for someone with cancer. Thank you to everyone who took action.

On the 29 July 2016 we included the petition as part of our submission to the Department of Health’s consultation on the Carers strategy. Our submission set out how we believe cancer carers should be supported.

We expect the Carers’ Strategy to be published later this year. We will continue to work to make that cancer carers get the support they need.

With your help, we also successfully campaigned to make sure the Care Act (2014) improved the identification and signposting to support of people looking after a loved one with cancer. Read more about our campaign successes.

15,115 campaigners signed our petition.

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Scotland

In Scotland, Macmillan worked with other charities to influence the Carers (Scotland) Act 2016. This new law should mean more carers get a ‘Carer’s Support Plan’ to give them social and financial help.

Now that this has been passed into law by the Scottish Parliament, we’ll work closely with the new Integrated Joint Boards across Scotland to make sure it’s put it into practice.

Find out more about our work in Scotland

Macmillan worked with other charities to influence the Carers (Scotland) Act 2016.

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Wales

Macmillan worked with the Wales Carers Alliance to help influence a major new law in Wales - the Social Services & Well-being (Wales) Act 2014. 

It’s a big step forwards and means all carers in Wales will now get an assessment of their needs as carers, regardless of the type or amount of caring they do, as well as receiving information and advice or a support plan. 

We’ll keep on working with the Wales Carers Alliance, the Welsh Government and carers themselves make sure this new law makes a difference for cancer carers in Wales.

Find out more about our work in Wales.

Macmillan worked with the Wales Carers Alliance to help influence the Social Services & Well-being (Wales) Act 2014.

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Northern Ireland

Northern Ireland is currently the only region of the UK without recent legislation to improve support for carers. 

To change this we have joined with other charities in a new Carers Coalition to raise awareness of the huge contribution made by people caring for family members and friends in order to push for change. 

Macmillan wants to see everyone who cares for someone with cancer in Northern Ireland identified and directed to support.

Find out more about our work in Northern Ireland.

Northern Ireland is currently the only region of the UK without recent legislation to improve support for carers.

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Stories

Paul's story

'It never struck me at first that I had become a carer. You just know that your wife is ill, so you start doing things for her, for the house – without realising that you have become a carer.'

'Life as a carer is very hard and at times it is an unbelievably lonely experience. As a carer, you can’t afford to cave in. But I got very close to it on several occasions. I’m not sure I could cope alone.'

'We went from the point of feeling helpless and lonely to suddenly having an organisation there. Had we not been put in touch with them at the hospital, we might’ve still been floundering along. The support they give you means you’re not facing all these difficult situations by yourself.'

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Sharon's story

‘There needs to be more that people can access easily,’ says Sharon. 'When we first found out my mum was ill – I thought where do I start? I didn’t see myself as a carer so taking that on board and finding support was hard.’

Sharon, who was already caring for her son, had to change her working hours to make sure she could be there for her mum too, which has had a real impact on family finances. She says more needs to be done to make sure cancer carers are recognised and provided for.

'It’s been hard financially as it’s had an impact on what we do as a family in the long term.' she says.

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Share your story

Have you been affected?

Sharing your experience can help support our campaigns. Please get in touch if you'd like to share your story.

Email us.

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