SHIPLEY MP Philip Davies has met unpaid carers who told him they fear for the future of adult health and social care after no extra funding was offered in the budget to ease pressure on the sector.

Among those the politician met at the Shipley office of local charity Carers' Resource was Barbara Hargreaves, 79, of Ilkley and Jane Lynch, 76, and her grandson Jamie, 14, of Baildon. Mrs Lynch explained she was one of 100 carers who went to the charity’s Carers Rights Day event last month at City Hall to hear health and social care professionals speak on issues such as Continuing Health Care, day care, paying for care and what carers should expect from their GPs.

She said: “Everyone on the platform was sincerely full of optimism and good intentions. However, when people stood up from the audience they weren’t moaning or doing a victimhood thing but they spoke of repeatedly filling in forms or making calls only to be blanked out and ignored.

“When carers are in crisis and call for help, they can’t get through - or if someone does answer they are told the people can’t come for one reason or another.”

The carers went on to explain that there is a general shortage of paid care staff, accessing respite or day care is difficult, and what a carer needs to carry on their role – such as overnight care - is often not available.

Mrs Hargreaves explained she cared for her husband Paul, who had dementia, for five years. His escalating condition meant she had to place him in a care home in late 2016 - 10 months before his death this August. She previously cared for her mother for 18 years without claiming any money from the state.

Mrs Hargreaves told Mr Davies: “The feeling is we should keep people in their homes for as long as possible and that would be good, if the right kind of help was provided. But for somebody to come in four times a day for 15 minutes in the case of dementia would not work – my husband would have said he didn’t need them, as I could do it.

“I asked if I could have some night-time care as the caring role was 24/7 and I was on the edge. They said no. Paul ended up going in a home and it cost me almost £20,000 in 10 months. The council paid £10,000 on top of my £20,000 and for that I was very grateful but three nights a week of care would have been wonderful and would probably have meant I could have kept him in our home until he died. I wouldn’t have got so uptight with him when I was changing the bed two or three times a night if I’d have had some help.”

Mr Davies said he recognised Mrs Hargreaves was offered care she did not need, and she could not access the care she did need, to ensure she could keep her husband at home. He added: “We desperately need to spend more money on social care. Anyone who can’t see that is going around with their eyes closed.

“I keep asking the Prime Minister to spend more money on adult social care but I don’t seem to be making much headway. I agree we are coming to a crisis point. Extra money is probably largely needed at the local authority end rather than through health or social care specifically.”

Carers’ Resource gives emotional and practical support to 16,000 unpaid carers across the Bradford district, Harrogate and Skipton areas. Chief executive Chris Whiley said: “We recognise that if more money was invested into social care generally and to support unpaid carers, they would be able to carry on in their role for longer. Things have got to dramatically change because there is a care ticking time bomb. More and more people are needing care and there’s less and less money to go around. Unpaid carers are already saving the economy £132bn a year.”

An unpaid carer is someone who, without payment, provides help and support to a friend, neighbour or relative who could not manage otherwise because of frailty, illness or disability.

Ms Whiley added: “We’d like to see a meaningful integration of health and social care, including their budgets, so that people can remain living at home for as long as possible and their unpaid carers are able to stay well in mind and body.”

Sam Dawson, manager of the charity’s paid-for not-for-profit care arm Care @ Carers’ Resource, told Mr Davies the recruitment and retention of paid care workers was becoming more challenging due to Brexit, as the fall in the pound and rise in inflation was hitting people’s pockets and putting off EU workers. She said money being put in the system to allow wages to increase even by £1 an hour would boost recruitment and retention figures.

Mr Davies welcomed that EU workers in the UK now have certainty that they can remain here after Brexit but acknowledged that carers in the community and residential homes had potentially been affected by the weak pound.

Unpaid carers can call Carers’ Resource on 01274 449660 or email for emotional and practical support. Care @ Carers’ Resource has several vacancies for care support workers and can be reached using the same contact details.