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Hunt: public must be more responsible for elderly

1 July 2015

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Jeremy Hunt, Secretary of State for Health, has called for a ‘national conversation’ to urge more of the public to become carers and take on more responsibility for the elderly, in light of finite NHS resources.

Care Minister Alastair Burt will develop a new ‘Carer’s Strategy’ to look at the necessary steps to support existing carers and the carers England will need in the future, Hunt will announce at the annual Local Government Association conference in Harrogate today.

Hunt will argue that personal responsibility needs to sit alongside system accountability.

“The uncomfortable truth is that praising that heroic army of carers and volunteers – as all politicians do – is not enough. If we are to rise to the challenges we face, taking care of older relatives and friends will need to become part of all of our lives,” Hunt is expected to say.

While the latest Office of National Statistics (ONS) figures show an increase in multi-generational households in England, 16% of older people live with children here compared to 39% in Italy, 40% in China and 65% in Japan.

The new strategy, aims to answer the question: what do we need to do as a society to support people who are caring now, and crucially, for the millions who will have a caring role in the future?

“Attitudes need to change too, so that it becomes as normal to talk about elderly care with your boss as about childcare. Family planning must be as much about care for older generations as planning for younger ones.

“A wholesale repairing of the social contract so that children see their parents giving wonderful care to grandparents – and recognise that in time that will be their responsibility too,” Hunt will say later today.