It’s carers week and in true Doncaster style, NHS health and care services are recognising and highlighting the invaluable role they play to thousands of people across the borough.
This year’s national theme is for a focus on getting carers connected and providing support for them to help them with their duties.
In Doncaster there are around 33,000 carers of all ages, including many young carers, making a vital contribution to individuals and families in community’s right across the borough. We also know nationally, that the total contribution that carers provide each year is in the region of £132 billion! So they rightly deserve recognition.
In the future, it’s likely that more of us (3 in 5 people) will care for someone else at some point in their lives. In the UK this is set to grow from 6 to 9 million over the next 30 years. The NHS Long Term Plan published in January 2019 acknowledge this and includes a key section on the importance of helping people to manage their own needs and personalised care when needed.
It also states that carers will benefit from greater support. The latest census found that 10% of the adult population has an unpaid caring role, this equates to a staggering 5.5 million people in England – around a 1/4 of who provide upwards of 50 hours care per week. There is a commitment to improve the ways in which we identify unpaid carers, and strengthen support for them to address their individual health needs.
The plan refers to the introduction of best-practice Quality Markers for primary care that highlight best practice in carer identification and support. In Doncaster, we are already working to raise awareness and further improving our support for our carers.
Health services in Doncaster are all signed up to the All Age Carer’s Charter, co-designed alongside young and adult carers. It reaffirms Team Doncaster’s public commitment to carers. The charter underlines that carer networks and links in the community are vital in terms of access to the right support at the right time.
Earlier this year, Doncaster CCG and Doncaster Council led an extensive piece of engagement work with people in Doncaster to develop the first ever joint health and social care commissioning strategy. It was co-produced with patients and members of the public and as part of this work, we also spoke with members of the Doncaster Parent and Carer forum to seek their views on how we can continue to improve and strengthen services for carers in Doncaster.
Dr David Crichton, Doncaster GP and Chair of Doncaster Clinical Commissioning Group said: “Carers week is an important opportunity to continue highlighting the important role of carers. Like other areas across the country, thousands of carers in Doncaster provide vital help and support for people to manage health conditions and where possible, help them to be as independent as possible.
“As a local GP, I see first-hand the vital role carers have. Their time, care and support is crucial and it is important that we do all we can to continue our work to identify carers and provide them with the support and information they need – not only to help care for individuals they support, but also ensuring their own health needs are met.
“In line with the commitments from the NHS Long Term Plan and using feedback from carers in the development of the joint health and social care commissioning strategy, we will continue to support carers and further highlight their significant contribution.”
Geoffrey Johnson, Public Governor, Doncaster Bassetlaw Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust and member of Doncaster Carers Strategic Oversight Group said: “I am delighted that organisations across Doncaster continue to champion the work of carers and the fantastic work they do. The role of a carer in many cases goes unnoticed and can sometimes be taken for granted.
“It is important that we raise awareness of carers across all health and care services and I am particularly pleased that the NHS Long Term Plan includes clear commitments to do this.”
Support available for carers in Doncaster
A number of dedicated services are available in Doncaster for carers to access:
- Making Space can support people in a caring role, helping to enable carers to be connected in their community and give balance to aid people in their caring roles. They can be contacted by calling 01302 986900 or by sending an email to DoncasterCarers@makingspace.co.uk
- Doncaster Parent Voice Parent Carer Forum – a dedicated parent carer forum of parents and carers of disabled children who work with Doncaster Council, education, health and other providers to make sure the services they plan and deliver meet the needs of disabled children and families. Call 01302 637566 or drop them an email for more information: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Young Carers service supports Doncaster’s young carers with a range of support tools. The young carer service supports young carers to be recognised in their role and to have the same opportunities and life chances as other children and young people of a similar age. For information, advice and guidance call: 01302 736099 or email: Young.Carers@doncaster.gov.uk
- Getting carers connected through technology. A new app developed by Carers UK has been designed by carers for carers. It helps to make caring easier, less stressful and help carers to become more organised by making communication and coordination between those who share the care as easy as a text message.