Carers ‘keeping Scotland going’


Carers looking after family members, friends and neighbours are helping to keep Scotland’s NHS and social work departments going in the snow.

That’s according to Public Health Minister Shona Robison, who is marking Carers Rights Day today by paying tribute to the contribution made by Scotland’s 657,000 carers to help keep vulnerable people well-looked after in this week’s blizzards.

The minister has also thanked health and social work staff up and down the country who have, in turn, provided extraordinary support to carers themselves – and highlighted other sources of support for the remainder of the cold spell; the worst snowfall at this time of year since 1965.

Listen to Public Health Minister Shona Robison on Carers’ Rights Day

Ms Robison said:

“Many of us have been inconvenienced by the extreme weather over the last few days, but for people who rely on carers the consequences could have been very serious.

“At the very least, if carers hadn’t fought through the snow this week to get to those who rely on them and make sure they had what they needed, it would have meant intense pressure for our NHS and social work departments.

“In any year Carers Rights Day is a chance to make clear how much we value the job they do – saving the state an estimated £7.68 billion every year – but the circumstances this year highlight just how much our health and social care staff rely on carers. They really are keeping Scotland going in this terrible weather. Thanks to them our NHS and social work departments have been able to deliver care to those most in need.

“Of course, carers can’t do it alone. Our carers strategy, published with CoSLA earlier this year, made clear that carers centres, social work departments and the voluntary sector play a vital role in supporting carers. They, too, have stepped up to the plate this week – offering to go shopping for carers, others providing short-notice respite and more giving advice to carers about fuel benefits and staying warm.

“For any carers or older people who need more information on where to get help during the cold weather our Care Information Scotland helpline and website could be invaluable. It will point you towards sources of help on your doorstep – I’d thoroughly recommend it to anyone who needs information on some extra support.”