Praise has been given to carers in Hartlepool with councillors stating their service is like ‘a second NHS’ to people in the town.
Representatives of Hartlepool Borough Council Health and Wellbeing Board supported the development of an all ages cares strategy proposed by council bosses.
Coun Stephen Thomas, chair of adult and community based services, praised the importance of carers in the town and the work done by local group Hartlepool Carers in supporting them.
He also urged the importance of making sure they receive funding from health bosses to continue the care they provide.
He said: “We’re in a really fortunate position in Hartlepool with the nature of the input from carers and also the nature of the work Hartlepool Carers do.
“I think they really are going from strength to strength in the town at the moment making some tremendous progress with the support that they provide for carers in the town.
“When you look at the figures from the national Carers Federation they estimate the unpaid work cares do is almost equivalent to the total cost of the NHS.
“So in a sense unpaid carers are almost a second NHS operating within the country.
“One of the disappointments for me recently is the end of some funding.
“I really do hope that a second look can be taken with regard to that and I really do hope that doesn’t jeopardise some of the real excellent work and the progress they have been making.”
Danielle Swainston, assistant director of joint commissioning services at the council, added a lot of work has been put into the all ages care strategy.
The topic formed the agenda of a joint children’s and adult and community based services committee meeting which took place earlier this year.
She said: “There’s been significant consultation already taken with young carers and also with all age carers.
“We’ve already identified those priorities which is what we are proposing to work through in terms of action planning.”
A recent consultation with carers laid out priorities such as identifying carers at an early age and ensuring they have their own family and community life.
Priorities listed also included ensuring carers stay healthy and are given the chance to realise potential in education and employment.
Nic Marko , Local Democracy Reporting Service