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Fact sheet

Scottish Primary Care

Community Health Partnerships

Community Health Partnerships are being established by NHS Boards in Scotland as key building blocks in the modernisation of the NHS and joint services, with a vital role in partnership, integration and service redesign. They provide an exciting opportunity for partners to work together to improve the lives of the local communities which they serve.

CHPs will provide a focus for the integration between primary care and specialist services and with social care and ensure that local population health improvement is placed at the heart of service planning and delivery.

NHS Carer Information Strategy

The unpaid carers workforce is the single largest provider of care to people with support needs in our communities without whose contribution, statutory agencies would face considerable, and perhaps unmanageable, pressures. The 2001 Census identified 600,000 carers in Scotland, 24% of whom care for more than 50 hours per week. The Care 21 Report - The future of unpaid care in Scotland makes recommendations for national and strategic policy priorities for enhanced support for carers.

On 24th May the Executive issued a detailed response to all of the Care 21 recommendations and have agreed that these recommendations should form the policy base for a 10 year programme of change. In the short term they identify four priority areas for immediate action:

  • Young carers
  • Respite
  • Carers health
  • Carer training

Carers Health

The Executive have agreed new incentives for GP practices to set up carer registers, to identify a named person in the practice responsible for liaison with local carer services and facilitate links between carers and local support.

They are developing a toolkit for Community Health Partnerships to assess management of long term conditions. This toolkit will highlight the role of carers and the support they need.

The Scottish Executive recognises carers as key partners in the provision of care. This principle was set out in November 2005 in Delivering for Health which commits NHS Scotland to developing systematic support for patients and their carers to facilitate self care.

Prevention of ill-health and the development of self-care management are essential strategic components to shifting the balance of care, preventing hospital admission and improving quality of life. Carers are vital partners in achieving these objectives. Physical health, emotional well-being and appropriate support are all important for carers to cope with the caring task, with direct benefits for the quality of care and the health of the cared-for person.

The NHS is the single most important initial point of contact for many carers. NHS staff play a vital role in identifying carers, offering them information and signposting them to sources of advice and support.

In recognition of this an HDL issued on 24th April 2006 sets out a legal requirement on NHS Boards to prepare and submit an NHS Carer Information Strategy. The guidance also makes a best practice recommendation that:

  • where a carer appears to the Board to have a significant caring role, NHS staff formally refer such carers on to appropriate sources of support, ie local carer support agencies.

As a minimum an NHS Carer Information Strategy must:

  • identify work already done with local partners to develop a joint information strategy for carers
  • specify arrangements for the involvement of carers, carer organisations, local authorities and other key stakeholders in developing and reviewing the NHS Carer Information Strategy
  • specify arrangements for involving young carers, through local organisations/bodies representing young carers, in developing and reviewing the NHS Carer Information Strategy
  • specify arrangements for the involvement of carers from minority ethnic groups and other equality groups in developing and reviewing the NHS Carer Information Strategy

Content of NHS Carer Information Strategies must:

  • demonstrate how NHS Boards have identified, in discussion with carers, carer organisations, the wider voluntary sector and local authority partners: the information carers need, how it will be provided and by which lead agency
  • describe how local joint agreements on issues of consent have been reviewed in order to ensure that they adopt the principles set out in the NHS Carer Information Strategy and facilitate the proactive provision of information to carers.
  • develop strategic proposals to address the identification and information needs of specific carer groups such as young carers and carers from minority ethnic communities.
  • ensure that NHS staff as a minimum are able to signpost carers that they come across on their day to day duties to a local carer support agency and, if patient confidentiality allows, to appropriate national organisations supporting patients, users and carers for specific conditions. For example: Alzheimer Scotland, National Schizophrenia Fellowship Scotland, MS Society Scotland

Additional Useful Information

In August 2006 The Princess Royal Trust for Carers hosted two seminars on Scottish NHS Carers Information Strategy. Please read the resulting seminars report:
Scottish NHS Carers Information Strategy Seminars (49 KB)

For examples of draft NHS Carers Information Strategies, please see the following downloads:
NHS Forth Valley Carers Information Strategy (120 KB)
Orkney Carers Information Strategy (198 KB)
NHS Borders Carers Information Strategy - Action Plan Draft (199 KB)
NHS Borders Carers Information Strategy - Narrative (128 KB)

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