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Fact sheet

Carers Information Points in Practices

What is the initiative?
Carers Northumberland set up a weekly information point within local GP practices to encourage carer identification and enable them to get information about the services available to them and to access support.

Who runs it?
Carers Northumberland

Who does it benefit?
It benefits all carers.

What does it do?
A Carer Support Worker from the local carer centre set up and staffed a information point in a GP practice once a week for a few hours for several months. This very visible presence served as a reminder to staff to identify and signpost carers and it also encouraged self-identification by carers. It also gave carers who came into the practices immediate access to a member of staff from their local carer centre who was able to give them information about the services and support that the centre could give them.

When did it start?
The project began March 2010 and finished in March 2011.

Why was it started?
This initiative was delivered as part of the Supporting Carers in Primary Care project run by Carers Northumberland to improve carer identification, an element of Northumberland’s Carers Health Checks Demonstrator Site, funded by the Department of Health. Northumberland Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust invited GP practices in Northumberland to take part in the project. Two Carer Support Workers from Carers Northumberland worked with four surgeries who volunteered to take part to achieve the project aims.

What were the aims and objectives?

  • Improve carer access to information and support
  • Ensure carers are able to maintain good mental and physical health
  • Increase GP staff’s carer awareness
  • Increase carer identification by GP staff and facilitate easy referrals
  • Refer appropriately for Carer Needs Assessment
  • Encourage self-identification by carers

How was it funded?
Northumberland Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust

What has it achieved?
Carers Northumberland have found that amongst the four practices they have worked with:

  • The number of staff who feel they had enough knowledge and skills on carer issues had almost doubled at the end of the project
  • Confidence in relation to carers and sharing information increased by 34%
  • Knowledge of resources available in the community to support carers increased by 31%
  • Staff are now more likely to provide information and signpost carers to other organisations
  • Staff have increased knowledge and skills on carer issues

This initiative has also allowed carers to access immediate information and support directly from their local carer centre.

It has enabled the Carer Support Worker to establish good working relationships with GP staff because of their regular presence in their practices.

Thinking of doing something similar?
Click on the link to see Setting up Carers Information Points in GP Practices