Campaign launch – CCG leaders should do more to identify and support carers

Since joining Carers Trust in July, in conversation with Network Partners I’ve been struck by how fundamental the identification of unpaid carers is in terms of tackling some of the wider issues we know that carers face.

Over the past few months, I’ve been working with 16 Network Partners as part of the Raising the Voice of Carers project planning a campaign to get more carers identified and given the support they need at the time they need it.

What I’ve heard from Network Partners is that if we can better identify carers, then we can go some way to resolving some of the other challenges carers face – as well as relieving some of the pressures on the NHS and social care.

Launch of the Carers Toolkit campaign

That’s why we launched the Carers Toolkit campaign. We want more Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) to work with local Network Partners to use the NHS England Carers Toolkit and Template Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to better identify and support carers.

In discussion with Network Partners who are part of the Raising the Voice of Carers project, I was surprised how many of their local CCGs were not using the Toolkit including a MoU. The Toolkit has the potential to be a really useful way of identifying and supporting carers and was sent out in May 2016 by NHS England, and yet many CCGs were not using the resource.

This means that carers face a postcode lottery when it comes to identification and being supported. That isn’t fair and this campaign wants to stop this lottery.

Developing services and listening to the voice of carers

When developing services to help carers, it’s vital that commissioners understand two really important things:

  1. that carers’ voices need to be at the heart of the services designed for carers
  2. the immense local knowledge that Network Partners have and how to harness this when developing services.

Carers, as people with lived experience, I believe are uniquely placed to shape their local services. It’s only by working with carers and Network Partners that local areas will be able to successfully provide services based on carer needs.

The Raising the Voice of Carers project is about giving carers the tools and confidence to campaign on issues that matter to them. Carers Trust and Network Partners were keen to see carers take action on their own behalf and let local decision makers know about what their life as a carer is like.

That is why Carers Trust provided template letters for carers via Network Partners so they could get in touch with their local CCG Chair to tell them about their experience of being a carer and why it’s so important to be identified and supported.

We also provided template letters for Network Partners to send to their CCG Chair offering support in adopting and adapting the Template MoU. We wanted as many carers as possible to have co-signed the letters from carers services.

Carers Trust and Network Partners were also keen to get members of the public involved in the campaign. Carers Trust set up an online action for members of the public and carers who don’t have a Network Partner near them to get in touch with their local CCG telling them about the Toolkit and why they should use it.

Carer identification is good for everyone

The more people that CCGs hear from the more likely they are to take action. Identifying and supporting carers is good for the carer, good for the person with care needs, and good for the wider health and social care system. It is part of the solution to the pressures the wider health and social care systems are under.

I hope that CCGs across the country listen to carers, Network Partners and members of the public they hear from to adopt and adapt the NHS England Toolkit to better identify and support carers.

If you’d like to know more about the campaign – please do get in touch by emailing and let me know if you hear from your CCG.

Blog by Ramzi Suleiman, Policy and Campaigns Officer, Carers Trust

March 2, 2017 Posted by | Uncategorized | 1 Comment