The Carers (Scotland) Act 2016 is one of the key pieces of legislation that recognises and gives rights to unpaid carers in Scotland. These rights include:
- the right to an Adult Carer Support Plan (for carers aged 18 and over)
- the right to be involved in the hospital discharge process of the person you care for
- the right to be involved in services
Adult Carers Support Plan
All adult carers have the right to an Adult Carer Support Plan (ACSP). This process starts with a conversation about your caring role and what matters to you. The plan sets out your support needs and personal outcomes. It also covers emergency and future care planning and whether support should be provided as a break from caring.
We can work with you to create an Adult Carer Support Plan for consideration by East Lothian Council (they approve the funding for any additional support or services that are not universally accessible). Please call us on 0131 665 0135 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like to find out more about how creating an Adult Carer Support Plan could help you.
As a carer, you have a right to be involved in the discharge process when the person you care for is in hospital. This means staff must invite your views about the discharge, take your views into account when planning the discharge and inform you in advance when the discharge will take place.
Please tell staff you are a carer, and how they can contact you, as soon as you can when the person you care for goes into hospital.
Involvement in services
As a carer, you have a right to be involved in services. This means local authorities and health boards must take steps to involve carers and carer representatives in the planning and evaluation of services that support carers.
One route to engage in this process is through our Carers’ Panel. This is a group of carers and former carers who meet on a monthly basis to share views, raise awareness and lobby for changes to how carers and the people they care for are supported. For more information on how to get involved, please call us on 0131 665 0135 or email us at email@example.com
The Scottish Government produced a Carers’ Charter to help carers understand their rights under the Carers (Scotland) Act 2016.
The Coalition of Carers in Scotland (CoCis) created Carers Act Resources to explain what carers can and should expect following the implementation of the Act on 1st April 2018.
If you are having difficulty communicating with professionals, the Being Heard: a self-advocacy guide for carers created by Carers Scotland has lots of practical advice on how to get the best out of interactions with others and how to make a complaint.
Professionals can sometimes be reluctant to share information with carers for reasons of patient confidentiality. The Mental Welfare Commission has produced a good practice guide Carers and Confidentiality to explain what professionals can and should do to listen to you and support you as a carer.
Carers Scotland also has a guide entitled Looking After Someone that sets out some of your rights and how to access support as a carer.
Carers and Employment
Under the Work and Families Act 2006, you have a right to request flexible working if you have worked for your employer for at least 26 weeks. You also have a right to a ‘reasonable’ amount of time off work to deal with an emergency involving a dependent.
Acas, the Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service, is an independent public body that provides free advice on employment rights, rules and best practice.
Acas Helpline: 0300 123 1100 (Mon to Fri, 8am to 6 pm)
Carers and Welfare Rights
You and/or the person you are caring for may be entitled to financial support from the state in relation to your caring role and/or their support needs.
Our Welfare Rights Coordinator can carry out a benefits check with you and/or the person you are caring for to establish what you may be entitled to. We can also help you to complete benefits applications.
Please call us on 0131 665 0135 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org for help with welfare rights.
If you need any help in understanding or exercising your rights as a carer, please call us on 0131 665 0135 or email us at email@example.com to speak to a Carer Support Worker.