Macmillan Cancer Support has found that some carers looking after cancer patients in the UK are carrying out vital healthcare tasks, without adequate training.
Research by Macmillan Cancer Support asked more than 2,000 carers, both past and present, about the support they gave. 22% said that they had dealt with specific healthcare tasks, such as administering medicine and pain relief whilst other had to give injections.
The charity wants the NHS to do more in supporting carers of people with cancer.
Fewer than half the people asked said that they had received training from a healthcare professional.
Due to this Macmillan Cancer Support want an amendment to the Care Bill, which is due in the Commons later this month, placing a specific duty on the NHS in England to help cancer carers, reports the BBC.
“Proposals already in the Care Bill will mean that local authorities will have to co-operate and work closely with the NHS to identify and support carers.
“We have also provided £400m to the NHS for carers’ breaks and given over £1.5m of funding to help develop initiatives with GPs, nurses and carers organisations to train people to help support them in their caring roles.”
In the survey for Macmillan Cancer Support, 63% of carers who did not receive any training or said that their training was not enough found that they felt distressed and frightened.
One in three people in this group said that they were scared that their lack of knowledge could mean that the person they were caring for found themselves being admitted to hospital.
A spokesperson for NHS England said not enough had been done in the past to ensure carers get the right training and support.
“Closer partnership working is already under way and the Integration Transformation Fund will act as a further catalyst for this.
“Health and Wellbeing Boards have been established, which bring together local clinical commissioning groups and local authorities to gain a shared understanding of the health and wellbeing needs of the community and develop a more responsive health and social care system which delivers better services and reduces health inequalities.”
Ciarán Devane, chief executive of Macmillan Cancer Support, said cancer carers took on a huge responsibility and deserved more help.
“Not only do cancer carers give hours of emotional support and practical help, they are performing clinical duties. Families and carers are the backbone of society and they deserve to be supported.
“The Care Bill legislation must be amended to ensure the NHS in England has a responsibility to work with local authorities to identify and signpost cancer carers to appropriate services.
“As the number of people diagnosed with cancer doubles in the next 20 years, there will also be a surge in the number of people caring for them.”