Category Archives: carers

Manifestos for Older People, Disability, and Carers

Cathy has welcomed the publication of Labour manifestos spelling out the range of pledges that the party is making for older people, people with disability, and carers.

“These constitute a firm commitment to safeguard and expand public services. We introduced national concessionary travel, and we will protect and expand it.

“We will introduce a National Care Service and put an end to the postcode lottery of provision.

“We know how much we owe to the 657,000 unpaid carers in Scotland, and we want to improve the support they get and to enhance the opportunities that are open to them.”

Cathy called for national concessionary travel in the first parliament. It became a manifesto pledge in 2003. Since then she has argued for extensions to the scheme.

As Convener of the Equal Opportunities Committee, she chaired a major Disability Inquiry which made many recommendations for improvements.

She has been Convener of the Cross Party Group on Carers since 2007, working closely with carers organisations to raise carers’ issues in the Scottish Parliament.

Labour’s manifesto for older people includes pledges to:

  • Protect the concessionary bus travel scheme for all over 60s and extend to those with mobility challenges and those in remote areas
  • End the postcode lottery of care with the creation of a National Care Service
  • Establish Scotland first chronic pain centre
  • Implement a new boiler scrappage scheme to help older people peoples’ bills
  • Introduce a new right to see a cancer specialist and get results within two weeks, halving the current waiting times.

In the manifesto for people with disabilities, Labour pledges to:

  • ensure that Scottish Labour’s focus on jobs and training is inclusive and supports opportunities for disabled people;
  • support disabled people through the tough economic times;
  • ensure a bold shift towards prevention in healthcare;
  • deliver better care at the right time;
  • improve mobility and access to the concessionary travel scheme for people with disabilities;

Support for carers includes

  • support for carers centres;
  • measures to prevent carers falling into fuel poverty;
  • a guarantee to ensure that the Future Jobs Fund and modern apprenticeship schemes are fully accessible to carers, young carers and those who face the most challenges in accessing the labour market;
  • support for young carers, including implementing the young carers strategy, embedding awareness of the needs of young carers in teacher training and in the policies of individual schools, and more flexibility for young carers getting the Educational Maintenance Allowance.

Carers’ Rights

Falkirk East MSP Cathy Peattie has called for support for a new Manifesto produced by carers organisations.
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Limited respite from Scottish Government

Falkirk East MSP Cathy Peattie has condemned the Scottish Government for breaking its promise to carers to provide an additional 10,000 weeks of respite care per year – with the Minister now asking MSPs to try to lobby local authorities on her behalf.
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Carers and the Skills Strategy

Falkirk East MSP Cathy Peattie has called for better support for carers undertaking training and education.

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Carers Centres need more support

Falkirk East MSP Cathy Peattie has paid tribute to the work done by hundreds of thousands of unpaid carers in Scotland, and called for additional resources to be made available to support the implementation of a new Scottish Government Carers Strategy.

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Cathy Backs Dementia Rights Charter

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Falkirk East MSP Cathy Peattie, Convener of the Cross Party Group on Carers, helping to launch Scotland’s first ever Charter of Rights for people with dementia and their carers.

Falkirk East MSP Cathy Peattie, who chairs the Cross Party Group on carers at the Scottish Parliament, said that there are “more than 69,500 people living in Scotland who have been diagnosed with dementia, and this is projected to increase to 127,000 by 2031. People with dementia and their carers have the same human rights as every other citizen. However, it is widely recognised that, in addition to the impact of the illness, they face cultural, social and economic barriers to fulfilling these.

“This Charter aims to empower people with dementia, those who support them and the community as a whole to ensure their rights are recognised and respected. In recent years numerous reports have demonstrated that levels of care for people with dementia are simply not at a high enough standard. The publication of a Charter of Rights for people with dementia and their carers is long overdue.”

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Speaking up for Carers

Speaking in the Scottish Parliament, Falkirk East MSP Cathy Peattie has called on the Scottish Government to do more to support carers.

Cathy, who is the Convener of the Cross Party Group on Carers, spoke about the difficulties faced by carers dealing with bureaucracy and the costs that they face for respite charges, heating and travel to access health and other services.

Penalising Working Carers
Reminding the Minister that the Executive policy was that “carers should not be adversely affected as a result of their caring role”, Cathy highlighted local authorities which “are now considering assessing, or are beginning to assess, the income of parent carers when considering the services that it will provide to a disabled young person aged 18 or under.”

Transport
“Transport is a problem for many. It is costly, if it is available. People who cannot travel on their own are entitled to be accompanied by a companion, but only on buses, whereas the blind persons scheme permits a companion to travel also on rail and ferry journeys. Anyone who needs to be accompanied by a companion should be allowed that. Of course, not everyone has access to public transport. Services are sometimes not suitable and in some areas do not exist. Private transport is expensive and unpaid carers rarely have big incomes because many must give up work to provide care. Demand-responsive community transport can provide much-needed services and should be included in the national concessionary travel scheme.

Respite Care
“Respite care is in short supply. The Government is committed to providing an additional 10,000 weeks of respite care, but thanks to the concordat, the commitment is reliant on the good will of councils. To their credit, some councils are providing respite care, but others are not—or have different ideas about how the weeks should be counted.

Poverty
“It would cost a lot to pay carers from the public purse for the services that they provide. Through their unpaid work, they make a major contribution to the economy, which we should recognise by ensuring that the support and services they can access are as good as possible, right across the sectors. We need to recognise carers’ needs in our health service by providing decent breaks and respite care. We must also provide adequate benefits, in recognition of the additional expenses that carers face as a result of their work.

“Carers are everywhere and all of us may become carers at some time in our lives, so we must ensure that carers are seen and supported and that their voices are heard. As politicians, we are responsible for ensuring that carers are supported in every way possible, and for ending the dreadful situation that leaves them living in poverty.”

See also https://cathypeattie.wordpress.com/category/carers/
https://cathypeattie.wordpress.com/2009/05/25/community-transport/

https://cathypeattie.wordpress.com/2008/10/20/fare-deal-for-community-transport/

MSP calls for carers’ travel concession

Falkirk East MSP Cathy Peattie has called for everyone who needs a companion in order to travel to be given the same concessions, whatever public transport they use.

Cathy said: “The Scottish Blind Persons’ Travel Card is an excellent scheme. It gives free travel on all bus, coach, rail and ferry services, not only to the blind person, but also, if they can only use public transport with assistance, to a companion.

“Unfortunately, other people who need to be accompanied can only take a companion when they travel by bus. I believe that they should also be able to apply for a travel card that permits them to travel with a companion on other public transport, not just buses.

“Journeys that are relatively quick and straightforward by train can become impossible if they depend on being accompanied by bus, with long journey times and poor connections.

“I don’t see any good argument against it, since the principle and the operation is already established – we would just be getting rid of an anomaly in the concessionary travel that is currently provided, and it would make a big difference to those who would benefit.”

See S3M-03815 Cathy Peattie (Falkirk East) (Scottish Labour): Extension of Concessionary Accompanied Travel

We need to care for carers

Falkirk East MSP Cathy Peattie has welcomed the judgment of the European Court of Justice on the Coleman case, which yesterday ruled that the laws which protect disabled people against discrimination apply not only to the person themselves, but also to their unpaid carer.

Cathy is the Convener of the Scottish Parliament’s Cross Party Group on Carers.

“This is a landmark case, which should give carers more flexibility and support in their employment to enable them to work and fulfil their role as an unpaid carer.

“I am keen to see such improvements applied to all carers. While legislative change to back this may be a Westminster issue, there is much that the Scottish Government could do to ensure these rights are applied to their own employees, and promoted as a progressive step by all Scottish employers. I have tabled a written question asking what the Scottish Executive will do to address this.”

“I have also tabled another question following the Scottish Government press statement on additional respite weeks for carers. I’m pleased that there is a stated commitment to an extra 2,000 weeks this year, growing to 10,000 in two years time. However, given the Council tax freeze and the cuts that some Councils are being forced to make in services, it is not clear where these extra weeks will be provided and how they will be paid for. I’d like to know what commitments have been made by individual councils, and if they are deliverable, whether respite care improvements will be across the board or a postcode lottery.”

Ends

More info on Coleman case   |   Respite Weeks