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Building a Carer Friendly Community

It’s Carers Week! For those of you who are carers and work with carers, it’s a good opportunity to raise awareness of carers and their needs; a chance to raise funds, promote local services and link with people who are caring but don’t know that there is support out there for them.

But what about the 357 days per year when the media aren’t happy to include a story about carers, when local carers’ organisations are struggling to get CCGs to recognise the importance of including carers in all commissioned service designs, when carers services are at risk due to cuts to local authority budgets. Or when individual carers struggle to get an appointment with their GP, put off that operation one more time, when they can’t get the care coordinator to listen to the vital information they need to tell them or for many carers the daily worry of making ends meet.

carersweekBuilding carer friendly communities means taking a long hard look at ourselves. If we work in hospitals are we sure we listen to carers, do we refer them to local carers’ services or rely on a noticeboard to do this for us?

If we work in a GP surgery are we sure that we let all carers know they are entitled to a flu jab and to be registered on the practice’s system as a carer?

Working in a local pharmacy (rated the most carer friendly in the Carers Week survey), do we know we could easily refer carers to local services and give them information on what’s available for them?

Working in HR departments do we ensure that our staff and managers know that carers are entitled to flexible working?

If we working a school, college or university are we ensuring we are doing our best to understand and identify young and young adult carers?

Are we as members of so many different communities being good neighbours and friends and helping those out who may have more on their plate than you or I?

New legislation will help carers, the Care Act has given them new and important rights under law but unless we ensure they are identified, supported, considered and included it will not have the impact it should.

Let’s all do our bit, quite simply let’s be friendly – that sounds quite nice doesn’t it.


Ruth Hannan is Policy and Development Manager (Mental Health) at Carers Trust


 

 

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June 8, 2015 - Posted by | Carers Week

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