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GPs in west Herts reaching out to family carers in Carers’ Week

During Carers’ Week (11 – 18 June 2018), NHS Herts Valleys CCG is encouraging people who are looking after others to ask about the carers’ champion in their GP surgery.

A carers’ champion is a key point of contact for carer information within GP practices. We know about 55,000 people in west Hertfordshire are looking after friends or relatives.  These unpaid carers frequently have health problems of their own.  They put off their own medical treatments and appointments because they often find it hard to leave the person they care for.

Tim Anfilogoff, Head of Community Resilience, at NHS Herts Valleys CCG, said:

“Carers are greatly underappreciated for the critical work they do. It is important to give carers the information and support they need to care without damaging their health. We want carers to feel valued, and able to access the help that’s there for them.  If they get ill, the NHS can end up with two patients to look after instead of one.  

“There is support for carers in the community, especially Carers in Hertfordshire, the county carers’ support organisation. There is hard evidence such support makes a difference, including significantly reducing the risk of depression for some carers.”

This year’s Carers’ Week has the theme “Keeping Carers Healthy and Connected”. NHS Herts Valleys CCG recently launched it’s carers’ strategy which includes working in partnership with other agencies, especially Carers in Hertfordshire, to encourage carers to get help sooner, to help them stay well.

Michèle Stokes, Chief Executive of Carers in Hertfordshire, said:

“Our 2018 survey of Hertfordshire’s carers has shown the importance of carers getting connected.  46% of carers have neglected their own health. 28.5% have not made/kept appointments with a health professional.

“Connections need to be on carers' own terms whether this takes place by getting online, meeting up face to face with friends or other carers or by speaking out about their own experiences of caring and how it has affected them.

“38% have lost touch with friends and family due to caring, 41.5% tell us that not being able to get out of the house much has made them feel lonely and socially isolated.”

To find out more about local support for carers, please call Carers in Hertfordshire on 01992 586969.

There are a number of events for carers organised in Hertfordshire during Carers’ Week, please go to http://www.carersinherts.org.uk/how-we-can-help/carers-week-2018 for a full list.

Ends

 

Notes to editors:

  • NHS Herts Valleys CCG recently launched it’s new carers’ strategy, which includes:

- Carer’s Passport

The Carer’s passport is a discount card which includes offers from local businesses, offering an attractive, non-stigmatising incentive for carers to engage with county charity Carers in Hertfordshire. With the passport, carers are finding out about support much earlier, before they hit crisis point. This is now being rolled out nation-wide.

- Carers’ Champions in the NHS 

Please see details in the main media release

- Herts Help Hospital and Community Navigator Service

GPs can use the “Herts Help” service to refer people in need – using the same process as if they are referring for medical treatment. This is a ‘single point of access’ service, which gives access to the wide range of services in the voluntary and community sector that GPs and the patient may not know about.  And the patient doesn’t have to know they are a ‘carer’. The “Community Navigator Service” compliments “Herts Help” where people need a face to face visit to talk things through.

For more information on Herts Help Hospital and Community Navigator Service, please visit www.hertshelp.net or to refer someone, call 0300 123 4044