Baby steps for carers

The Government called it their ‘Next Steps for the Carers’ Strategy’. Carers will want to know whether these are just baby steps or worse something akin to Paula Abdul’s “Take two steps forward, and you take two steps back’.

The biggest leap forward in the Strategy was actually announced a week before; £400m would be given to the NHS to spend on supporting carers which I spoke about in my last blog. This leaves the extra investment in training GPs to support carers as the headline maker. Government have said £6m will be made available for this over the four years of this strategy.

Many carers will angrily feel that they should get the money and not GPs, and others will think that we should not spend money on training GPs to do something they should already do. The Government feels that this money can get GPs to identify and refer carers for support much earlier than they are currently doing, if at all. Hopefully, this should mean that more carers will get support, and earlier too.

There are many Carers’ Centres and Crossroads Care schemes who do training and work with GPs and it does result in more carers getting better support and more help from GPs. The NHS has to realise that the £400m they will receive should be used to support the extra carers that GPs should be identifying and referring for support.

Other announcements are unlikely to get any carers dancing in the streets – even to a Paula Abdul song…

  • Skills for Care and Skills for Health will publish a learning and training framework so professionals better understand needs of carers
  • Will develop an e-learning module to improve school support for carers
  • Government will promote the benefits of providing flexible working
  • Seek to improve access to support for carers suffering mental and emotional strain

Governments are often criticised for over promising and under delivering. So far, I’m not sure that they could be accused of the former and time will tell regarding the delivery. It all hangs on that £6m for GPs and £400m for the NHS. If they don’t bring about the changes needed, carers will not think the Government will have done much in the four years to 2015.

Take care



December 9, 2010 - Posted by | Budget, Carers Strategy, David Cameron | ,


  1. What another load of old eyewash. The usual rubbish; loads of people sitting round in nice shiny offices with even shinier desks all having a nice shiny little chat about what’s best for us and then…nothing! Money for old rope really. I wouldn’t mind their job; they can come babysit my boys while I do it and then we can reconvene with them in attendance and see how much their attitudes and opinions have changed once they’ve had a tiny bit of experience of the realities of caring!
    Surely Gp’s too do not need training on how to care for carers. If they do they shouldn’t be there in the 1st place! They earn more than enough anyway.
    All cobblers, the whole shebang.

    Comment by kerry | December 9, 2010 | Reply

  2. While I wouldn’t necessarily use the same words as Kerry, I can understand her frustration over this.

    Our centre has offered training to GP’s for years – we even had a contract for it some years ago. 2 GPs out of over 400 bothered to attend.

    Bearing in mind that identifying and supporting carers has been a part of their employment contract since 2003, this is not only rather late, but without compulsion and/or CPD credits will have no effect. My experience is that most GPs do not see carers as anything to do with them.

    Comment by charles47 | December 11, 2010 | Reply

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