England’s Ministers Plan to Give Caregivers Legal Rights

July 7, 2012

Unlocking Word Meanings
Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article.

1. caregiver (n.) 
[kair-giv-er] – someone responsible for the safety, health and happiness of a child or an adult who is sick, disabled or old
Example: She is the only caregiver of her elderly parents.

2. divisive (adj.) [dih-vahy-siv] – causing people to be divided into groups that disagree with each other
Example: Religion and social class are often divisive factors in society.

3. look out for (idiom) [look out fawr] – to take care of someone or something
Example: Older children are told to look out for their younger brothers or sisters.

4. respite (n.) [res-pit] – a short rest from something difficult or not very enjoyable
Example: He looked after his elderly mother yesterday to give his sister respite from caregiving.

5. treat (v.) [treet] – to behave towards someone or something in a certain way
Example: A government should treat its citizens well.

Read the text below.

The English government is planning to give legal rights to family caregivers. If approved, the rights would benefit about 1.25 million people in England who spend 50 hours or more a week caring for their elderly and disabled family members.

Proposals for caregivers’ rights, which could include caregivers' rights to respite care, education, and training, will soon be published by the government.

According to Paul Burstow, UK’s Care Services Minister, the government wants to make sure the National Health Service and local councils will look out for family caregivers when needed. The support will allow caregivers to take care of family members longer.

Burstow also said that the government wants to increase caregiver centers and services in the country, so that family caregivers may have temporary respite from their caring responsibilities. The services could even offer practical help, such as providing family caregivers with computer access, in order to ensure caregivers still have an active social life with friends or other relatives.

How the government would fund such proposals is still not clear, as funding is still a divisive issue.

The Treasury is concerned about the cost of making changes to the social care system. The government already spends £14 billion each year on social care, and the suggested changes would add another £1.7 billion yearly. The extra costs will also likely become more expensive because of England’s aging population.

Nevertheless, the government assures that new plans and changes in the social care system will give importance to how caregivers should be treated and supported.

Viewpoint Discussion
Enjoy a discussion with your tutor. 

Discussion A

·         Do you think the government should be giving legal rights and benefits to those who care for family members? Why or why not?
·         What do you think people should do if they cannot afford to take care of their family?

Discussion B

·         In your country, who is expected to take care of old, sick or disabled family members? Why?
·         Who would you like to care for you when you get older? Please explain further.


July 7, 2012