The absence of respite care is a potential death sentence for family carers, a Chigwell based company has claimed.

Respite care means taking a break from caring, while the person you care for is looked after by someone else.

Government guidance is making emergency respite care impossible, bosses at Revitalise have claimed.

A spokesperson for the company said: “Pressures on unpaid home carers, nursing and caring for a seriously ill or disabled loved one, 24 hours a day, have become intolerable.

“This is the consequence of the emergency Coronavirus Act which has allowed Local Authorities to axe their duty of care responsibilities towards the disabled and the elderly. As a result, desperate families have been stripped of valuable home and community support at a time when they need it most.”

The Government have imposed blanket 14-day isolation guidelines for anybody entering any care setting, prohibiting access to emergency respite care.

Revitalise CEO Jan Tregelles said: "I have been told by countless carers that they are desperate and have nowhere to turn for help. They need emergency respite now. I am appalled that the Government guidance has continued to leave them forgotten, alone and stranded.

“You only have to listen to the outcry from holidaymakers faced with the prospect of quarantining for fourteen days on return. People will drive through the night or pay thousands for flights to avoid these restrictions, yet those who have already been isolated for six months and urgently need respite, are expected to comply. This is not two weeks of inconvenience; this is a matter of life or death.”

John Turner, CEO of the Respite Association which provides short term respite care to the NHS, added: “The need for respite has never been so vital. The Covid-19 situation has been devastating for carers, adding genuine fear to the isolation that so many already felt. The Respite Association and Revitalise have been inundated with carers in some truly desperate situations, who just need a chance to catch their breath, but have no way to do that.

“Organisations like Revitalise that normally provide these services are hampered by the care home guidelines, which are wholly inappropriate for respite breaks. Thousands of desperate carers need our help now before they burn out; The Respite Association and Revitalise give them hope, which is not much to ask for given the sacrifices they make day in and day out.”

Epping Forest Guardian:

For more breaking news, local headlines and features, ‘like’ our Facebook page.

We also have a Twitter account: @EppingFGuardian

Follow us to keep up-to-date with news in Epping Forest.