Letter: Strains on care of patients as hospitals cut back beds

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The Independent Online
Sir: In all the furore about changing the way acute care is delivered, I hope that we are not forgetting the people who will really replace the hospital care. When you are discharged early, it is not a nurse or a doctor who provides the main care at home, it is your carer - your family, your friends, your neighbours.

Has any one thought of asking the carers what they think of the planned changes? Most want their relatives to come home as soon as possible, but there must be an understanding of the stress this can cause for carers.

You are expected to undertake quite complicated care and carry a heavy burden of responsibility while being given almost no helpful information, and sometimes even ignored by doctors and nurses who may visit daily (if you are lucky), but are not there, as the carer is, 24 hours a day. If resources are transferred from the acute to the community sector we must ensure enough of them go to helping carers.

Yours truly,

JILL PITKEATHLEY

Director

Carers' National

Association

London, EC1

23 June

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