South Yorkshire MP John Healey has praised the work of carers across Rotherham and Barnsley but says more help is needed to ensure they are able to access the support they need.

This week is National Carers Week and a survey by Carers UK has found that 61% of carers say their physical health had worsened as a result of caring and three in five have a long-term health condition.

Over twelve and a half thousand older people provide unpaid care for family members across Barnsley and Rotherham, and many feel under pressure and unsupported by the NHS and the social care system.

John said: “The contribution of unpaid carers to our society is critical, not only to loved ones, neighbours and friends, but to the sustainability of the NHS. Unpaid carers provide care worth an estimated £56.9 billion a year to the economy.

“The Carers Action Plan, published by the Government in June, contains very little action that would support carers when the need for support through better-funded social care has never been more urgent.

The government needs to act to support social care services, as well as doing more to provide financial and practical support for unpaid carers. I also want to see more backing for great local Age UK and carers groups, like ours in Barnsley and Rotherham, who offer practical advice, advocacy and support to older people.”

6,902 people aged over 65 across Rotherham and 5,708 in Barnsley say they are providing unpaid care with many saying that they provide that care for over fifty hours a week.

The Labour Party wants to see an additional £8 billion invested into social care across the next parliament and raising Carers’ Allowance for full-time unpaid carers in line with Job Seeker’s Allowance.