The county council and Surrey’s six clinical commissioning groups are preparing to sign contracts to give carers breaks to recharge the batteries and provide help with their physical and emotional needs.
Doing a deal with Crossroads Care, which will see their staff go into homes to care for loved ones, will enable an extra 500 days of breaks to be provided.
Action for Carers Surrey has agreed to increase the number of people given support to 20,000 a year as part of its contract as well as operate extended hours stretching into the evening and on Saturdays.
The move aims to ensure families stay together in their own home for longer at a time when rising demand for services such as adult social care mean the council is looking to bridge a £30 million funding gap next year.
It has been estimated the authority would need to spend the equivalent of up to £10m extra annually on providing more expensive types of support in care or nursing homes over the four years the contracts could last – the initial deals will run for two years with options to extend them.
Mel Few (pictured), Surrey County Council’s Cabinet Member for Adult Social Care, said: “Carers play an invaluable role and make such an enormous contribution in helping people stay in their homes, which is what they want. That is why it is vital we do as much as we can to help them.
“Without Surrey’s unsung heroes we would face the prospect of spending up to £10m more a year on care for their loved ones at a time when growing demand for services for older and disabled people is putting our finances under severe strain.”