What is a carer?
A carer is anyone who cares, unpaid, for a friend or family member who due to illness, disability, a mental health problem or an addiction cannot cope without their support.
How do we support carers?
We acknowledge the role that unpaid family carers play, as main partners in the care of patients who cannot manage without their help. We also understand that carers themselves often need support as caring can take its toll both physically and emotionally. GP practices are ideally placed to ensure that carers are identified and receive the support they need early in their caring journey.
So building on a successful, award winning model established in Hertsmere and in partnership with the charity Carers in Herts, we have approved funding for each GP practice to enhance their support for carers.
Most GP practices in west Hertfordshire have a nominated member of staff to take on the role of a Carers' Champion, for adults and children. As part of our strategy, we expect all practices to do so over time. The Carers' Champion is normally a member of the practice reception staff who is well placed to identify carers within the practice, but it could be the practice manager, a member of the administrative team or a practice nurse or GP.
Carers have a point of contact within every practice who signposts them to other agencies for information and help, and gives them access healthcare support from the practice - for example healthcare checks and flexible appointments.
We have a Carers' Strategy for 2015-2018. Read the full Carers Strategy document.
6th International Carers Conference, 4 September 2015
Opening the Can of Worms, it addresses the need for a joined up vision to identify and support family carers. It analyses the cultural, psychological and structural blocks to optimal carer support and describes the significant progress made in West Hertfordshire to address them:
Other useful links:
Carers in Hertfordshire – A charity giving support and information to carers
HertsHelp - If you need help and don't know where to turn, if you have a question or problem, you can contact Herts Help
Hertsdirect – Find out how Hertfordshire County Council helps carers
Carers Direct – NHS care and support guide
Department of Health – Information on the latest changes to care and support across England