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Fact sheet

Setting up and overhauling a GP Practice's Carers' Register

How is the initiative run?
Worcestershire Association of Carers works with GP Practices to undertake an audit of their engagement and work with carers. This is a general assessment of their care provision series, and the results of this are then used to develop an action plan to support the Practice to increase their carer awareness and identification. Where agreed, the action plan also addresses carer support and involvement. All engaged practices aim to increase their identified and registered carers by 20% from the point of initial audit.

Once the action plan is agreed together with the practice, the Worcestershire Association of Carers will work in partnership with the Practice to help them achieve their goals.

Identifying the carers and getting them on the Practice registers is only half the battle, and Worcestershire Association of Carers works closely with the GP Practices to ensure that carers identified through this project are referred to them and/or statutory/young carer services, and that they receive as much support from the Practice as possible.

To help keep track of their successes, and to improve practice efficiency, the Worcestershire Association of Carers encourages Practices to continue to undertake audits of their carers registers every six-months or every year, depending on capacity.

What methods have been particularly effective?
There are several ways of increasing the number of identified carers that experience has shown to be very effective:

  • Supporting the Practice to write to all of their patients on the register to check if they are still in a caring role, and to get more details of the role if they are. There is an incentive to respond included in this, for example offering the support of Worcestershire Association of Carers to carers. The Association offers support to the GP Practice by providing a format for the letters, or providing key points to be included in the letter, based on experience.
  • Using promotional materials and opportunities within the Practice to raise the awareness amongst carers has been very successful, and Worcestershire Association of Carers has worked with GP Practices to do this. The use of in-Practice electronic media, display boards, leaflets, self-referral cards and increased staff awareness and training have all increased the number of carers on the Practice’s register
  • Worcestershire Association of Carers also worked with and paid the ‘Life Channel’, who supply the plasma-screen TVs to a number of Practices in their region, to create a Carers Campaign amongst the other information that they display in practices. The Association also worked with ‘Media Live’ who create health campaigns which participating practices can choose to run on their plasma-screens; the GP Engagement Worker advised on content for a national carers campaign.

Have there been any challenges along the way?
Working with the GP Practices to get them to report on their results has proved to be difficult, and an original plan of auditing results every three months proved to be too difficult for some Practices. Worcestershire Association of Carers has now started to encourage six-monthly or annual reviews.

One locality proved much more reluctant to engage overall, and consequently showed less or slower progress.

What hints and tips might help me get started?
Working with the Practices and not presenting them with a ‘mountain to climb’ has been important, and planning success in bite size chunks has made the Practices feel more confident that they can achieve targets.

Remembering to be fluid, and treat each Practice individually has been important: from planning targets to providing supporting information such as letters for patients already on the carers register. Making sure that planned targets and information are relevant to each individual Practice has been essential. Also working at a pace appropriate to each practice has been vital to maintain engagement.

Where can I get further information?
Rachel Leask,
Worcestershire Association of Carers,
Polysec House,
Blackpole Trading Estate West,
Hindlip Lane,
Tel: 01905 751349

When was this information collected?
March 2012

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