What's it like being a carer?

Our briefing published today brings together the views and experiences of 5,447 carers from over 27 communities across England. Take a look to see what people told Healthwatch about their experiences.
Graphic of speech bubbles


Conversations that the Healthwatch Network has had with over 5,000 carers, as well as research and data we’ve gathered, shows that people don’t always get the support they need.

As we approach the publication of the government’s Social Care Green Paper, it’s vital that carers’ needs are considered a priority. This briefing summarises our research into the support available for carers, and their experiences, to shape the green paper process and to improve the accessibility and quality of support for carers. 

Key findings

Our research suggests that:

  • Carers are not always aware of their rights to an assessment and information and advice.
  • Carers only start looking for help when they reach a ‘crisis’ point. Any delay in accessing support at this point has an adverse effect on their health and wellbeing.  
  • Carers have to wait an average of 57 days for services once they request support. This, in and of itself, is not an overly long wait, the problem is that people are only requesting support when they have already reached crisis. 
  • Many councils (48%) do not know how many carers are in their area, very few councils (30 or 23%) were able to say how long carers were waiting for services. 


If you need this publication in a different format, please email enquiries@healthwatch.co.uk or call 03000 68 3000.

Talk to your local Healthwatch

You can help make health and care services better by sharing your experiences and ideas. Talk to your local Healthwatch.

Find your nearest Healthwatch