Are you a carer? New plan sets out support
Published: Thursday 21st December 17
The council and Wandsworth Clinical Commissioning Group have published a new three-year blueprint on how they will support the borough’s carers and young carers
L-r: Elizabeth Palmer, Director of Quality Governance, St George’s NHS University Foundation Trust; Greta Adedeji, Carer Representative, Carers’ Partnership Board; Paul Martin, Chief Executive Wandsworth Council; Sandy Keen, Head of Older Peoples Services, Wandsworth CCG; Eglionna Treanor, Chief Executive, Wandsworth Carers' Centre
Wandsworth has thousands of people who provide unpaid care for others, including up to 600 ‘young carers’ under the age of 25.
The new Carers’ Strategy, Working Together, was drawn up following conversations and focus groups with caring professionals, carers and young carers. These were led by the Carers’ Partnership Board made up of representatives across health and social care, as well as carer representatives.
Carers Partnership Wandsworth is jointly commissioned by the council and the CCG to support adult carers in Wandsworth. The council also funds a Young Carers Project which provides young carers with the opportunity to socialise, share experiences, enjoy activities and outings and access support.
Carers told the Carers’ Partnership Board that their priorities included getting information at the right time and accessing respite, and young carers asked for the time and energy to complete homework and socialise.
Actions in the new plan include:
- Training council and health staff to better identify carers who need support,
- Helping carers understand their rights around employment and benefits
- Supporting carers to get new skills
- Improving the way carers are supported through their GP practice
- Making sure assessments and reviews and any support promised is timely and personalised.
- Working with schools to improve the processes for identifying and supporting young carers
- Proactive work to prevent children from taking on inappropriate caring roles.
The aim is to ensure local services work together to help people like Lindy, 24, who is caring for her mother. She was depressed, in debt and had put her hopes for further education and a career on hold. The Carers’ Partnership helped her access debt advice and attend events and workshops to improve her confidence and employability. Lindy is now studying for her GCSEs and hopes to become a drug and alcohol support worker or counsellor. She said: “The support worker has helped me a lot, giving me encouragement and practical advice. I’m doing a lot better now”.
The council’s health and social care spokesman Paul Ellis said: “We know there is an unpaid army of people – including in some cases people barely into their teens - caring for their loved one who would benefit from our support. We’re keen to identify them and give them the help they need.
“We are putting measures in place to better identify people who need help, but we know some people are carers without even realising it. if you provide unpaid care for another person, you could be a carer. Get in touch to see what support is available.”
James Blythe, Managing Director, Merton and Wandsworth CCGs, said: “This integrated strategy is about identifying the health and care needs of carers as well as the person they are caring for. For our part, we plan to increase the number of carers receiving an extended GP appointment and to improve carers health and wellbeing. The carers strategy is an example of how health and care can partner together to improve the overall wellbeing of our patients.”
There is a range of support services and information for carers in Wandsworth, and by law all carers are entitled to an assessment of their needs. Find out more at www.wandsworth.gov.uk/carers or call (020) 8871 7707.