Healthcare: On the Agenda - Carers affected by poor health

In a nutshell

A report by eight charities has found evidence of a 'growing crisis' in the health of carers in the UK.

About the report

Carers Week, led by eight charities including Age UK, Carers UK and Macmillan Cancer Support, produced a survey that found 40 per cent of carers had delayed seeking medical treatment for themselves. In addition, 87 per cent of the 3,400 carers surveyed said caring had taken its toll on their mental health. The report found that carers have delayed medical treatments ranging from a hernia operation to cancer screening as a result of their responsibilities. It highlighted one woman whose son has cerebral palsy who put off a regular screening appointment only to discover she had cancer and needed urgent treatment.

PR strategy

The report was timed to coincide with Carers Week on 18-24 June and released in 'bitesized chunks' by the organisation. Case studies were provided from across the country, while experts from the charities were put up for interview. The report was tweeted. The coverage also coincided with a visit to a children's hospice by Samantha Cameron to mark the week.

Media coverage

Most national newspapers covered the story, along with the Today programme, BBC Breakfast, BBC Two and Radio 5 Live, as well as Daybreak and regional news for ITV. The topic became a top ten trend on Twitter, as well as being picked up by MPs and celebrities unconnected with the campaign such as Ruby Wax.

- 6.4m carers are currently unpaid in the UK

- 64% blamed poor health on a lack of practical support.

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