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MP calls on NHS Cumbria to say where Carer funding has gone after news that respite funding is being 'spent elsewhere'

March 9, 2010 12:00 AM

South Lakes MP Tim Farron has called on NHS Cumbria to demand answers as £1.5m of funding for carers appears to have been spent on the wrong projects.

According to leading charities in the sector (including the Princess Royal Trust for Carers) only about 23% of the funds that were supposed to be dedicated specifically to supporting carers and local dementia services have actually been spent as intended. The money was originally planned to be used to give carers respite care but currently the funding is being spent on plugging gaps in existing budgets. Tim Farron fears that an even lower proportion of that money is being spent on supporting carers in Cumbria.

NHS Cumbria has received £1.5m as part of the National Dementia Strategy, to provide additional support - especially to carers and to give better training to GPs to diagnose dementia. But local MP, Tim Farron has challenged NHS Cumbria as it is clear that this money is not being spent on helping people with dementia or their carers.

In the South Lakes there are an estimated 8,000 people who care for a loved one regularly.

Speaking today, Mr Farron said: "Neither I nor the people who run local charities like the South Lakes branch of the Alzheimer's Society can see any real evidence of where that money is going in our area.

That money was not given by the government so it could be spent on plugging existing budgets. It was given to provide respite care and other types of support for the people who need it most. Carers are the unsung heroes of our social care system they deserve a better deal - this money was part of it and I am calling on the local NHS to honour their part of the deal!"