This report describes the findings of research carried out between August and December 2011 into the experiences of unpaid carers in accessing and using short breaks (respite care). The study explored, from the carers’ perspective the benefits of short breaks (provided by formal services and family and friends), good practice in planning and provision, deficits and areas for improvement. Research findings are based on 1210 responses to a Scotland-wide survey distributed through carer organisations, four focus groups involving 36 carers and 13 interviews. The findings that have emerged across both pieces of research reveal there is still a long way to go before national outcomes to protect the health and wellbeing of carers, and to enable them to retain a life outside caring, are realised for the majority of Scotland’s unpaid carers. With less than one in every two carers surveyed in this research accessing short breaks, there is still much to be done.