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“There’s a lack of respite care”

“One individual, she had been a carer for her husband for 24 years. And her experience over that time had declined significantly, with the lack of respite care. Initially it was never easy, but it was manageable initially. But it just got more and more difficult. And it got to the point where she described how she had to go into hospital for major surgery. So it wasn’t that she wanted a break from caring or anything like that. She needed major surgery. And social services just gave her a book that listed the care homes in Birmingham. And she phoned up over 30 care homes. And they were saying things like, ‘Well, we haven’t got a place at the moment and if we get somebody in who’d be permanent, then you can’t have it. But if somebody dies and the place becomes available, you might be able to.’ She couldn’t plan surgery on the NHS on that basis.”