Jersey's Chief Minister pledges to act on concerns of carers
Alex Spiceley reports
Jersey's Chief Minister has pledged that her government will respond to the concerns of carers after seeing first-hand the pressures that they face.
Marisa Burrows, who is an at-home carer for her husband, invited Deputy Kristina Moore to visit them for a discussion about the levels of respite and financial support available.
Ms Burrows, who works up to 160 hours per week, had called on the Chief Minister to increase the rate of Home Carer's Allowance.
Deputy Moore said the issue of care support is 'high on the agenda' for her government.
She said: "We have heard what they have to say and we understand why they want to have carers' voices heard. So we will ensure that over the period of the government that we do respond to those needs."
"I think in this particular case, there's a real life story here and they feel somewhat that they are battling against the system. So there are some really key things that can be done to improve the level of service."
She added that the island's Health Minister, Deputy Karen Wilson, was exploring potential legislative changes to address some of the issues raised following meetings with Carers Jersey.
After their conversation, which lasted for around an hour, Ms Burrows said she felt more optimistic that the government was now listening.
"We did get the feeling she did mean every word. I would say 'watch this space.' We're going to do a check-in at the beginning of September and she's going to see if we've got anywhere as far as respite care.
"Fighting for respite needs to be an island-wide thing and it needs to be prioritised. That's top of our agenda and we'll fight for any other carers out there. We all have to stand together, and she was actually willing to have a meeting with other carers I brought up."
In Jersey, carers who are eligible for the allowance are paid £929.88 per month, which equates to roughly £6.13 an hour, based on a 35-hour working week.
To qualify for the Home Carer's Allowance, islanders must:
Spend at least 35 hours a week caring for the person
Not take part in paid work for more than 15 hours a week
And the person they are caring for has been assessed as needing a high level of personal care