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Fact sheet

Creating a Newsletter for GP Practices

What is the initiative?
Writing and distributing a monthly electronic newsletter to local GP surgeries.

Who runs it?
Halton Carers Centre

Who does it benefit?
It benefits carers because it keeps them at the forefront of local GPs’ minds, reminding them to identify carers and to refer them to their local centre. It also benefits practice staff as it is an easy and efficient way for them to keep informed about the local services available to carers who attend their practice. The GP Liaison Worker benefits too because it is an efficient way to stay in contact with local practices and keep the momentum going, and it’s not resource-intensive.

What does it do?
It’s a newsletter that goes out every month via email to practices in the local PCT. It contains bits of news and information about what’s been going on in the carers centre, upcoming events, and it also includes information about other local services. It serves as a reminder about carers for GPs.

When did it start?
The newsletters started being sent out in October 2009.

Why was it started?
Halton and St Helen’s PCT created a GP Link Worker post in October 2009 to appoint someone to work with local GPs to promote carer identification and referrals. When Lisa Horrocks was appointed as the GP Link Worker she carried out Carer Awareness training for all the practices in the PCT. She says;

“I realised that it would be a challenge to keep in contact with all the practices on a regular basis, and practice staff wouldn’t necessarily be able to make time to meet with me so I had to find another way of keeping them informed about carers and remind them about carer identification. A monthly e-newsletter seemed like the solution.”

What are the aims and objectives?
*Keep carers at the forefront of GPs’ minds
*Encourage referrals to the local carer centre
*Highlight specific parts of our services to the practices, for example reminding them that carer break funding is available through the centre
*Promote other organisations in the area
*To find an efficient way of staying in contact with all the local practices

How is it funded?
The costs are low: It takes an hour or two of time every month to create the newsletter and distributing it via the web means there are no printing or postal costs.

What has the initiative achieved?
Since the initiative was started in October 2009 the centre has had 900 referrals from local practices. It’s helped practice staff to keep their knowledge of the carers centre and other local services current and allows other local organisations to promote their services to GPs.

How have carers been involved in planning and delivering this work?
Carers aren’t directly involved with writing the newsletter. However, as part of this work we do ask carers to write letters to their GPs to thank them for identifying and referring them, or to mention it to them when they visit their practice. Again, that’s about finding a way to keep the GPs reminded that carer identification and referral is really important and has a really valuable impact on carers’ lives.

Thinking of doing something similar?
Click on the link to see Setting up a Newsletter for GP Surgeries