Unpaid carers have played a greater role than ever before in supporting people with their care needs throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. In addition to the direct support they provide, carers play a vital role in sharing feedback about their care experiences.
Together with CQC as part of our Because We All Care campaign, we are asking carers to tell us about the care their loved ones receive, positive or negative across care homes, GP services, hospitals on in their own home.
Highlighting the importance of the role of carers, Sir Robert Francis QC, Chair of Healthwatch England, said:
“Unpaid carers are the backbone of our health and social care systems and their commitment and compassion have never been more vital. The COVID-19 pandemic has had a big impact on both them and those they care for whilst prompting a huge rise in the number of people taking on caring roles, ranging from shopping for food and collecting medicine to providing emotional support.
And that is why we’re asking everyone who looks after their friends or family members to share their experiences of care services with their local Healthwatch.
Your feedback can help the NHS and social care providers understand what could be improved as they work hard to provide the best possible care during these difficult times. By sharing your experiences via our completely independent and confidential survey, you can help improve support for everyone in your local community.”
What have carers told us?
Research undertaken by CQC and Healthwatch England as part of our Because We All Care campaign has shown that unpaid carers are:
- more likely than the general population to provide feedback on health and social care experiences on behalf of loved ones, with 67% reporting they give positive feedback on care.
- 58% of carers said they will be more likely to provide positive feedback on care after the coronavirus pandemic.
- carers are significantly more likely to have taken action to improve health and social care (71%) compared to the rest of the population (44%).
Kate Terroni, Chief Inspector of Adult Social Care at CQC, said:
“There are 6.5 million unpaid carers in England and their voices are extremely powerful. We are incredibly grateful that many carers have already shared their experiences of what care is like when delivered in their own home, in care homes, hospitals and GPs - good and bad – this is vital intelligence to CQC and really does make a difference.
By the end of December we had we carried out over 1900 risk-based inspections using vital intelligence, including from carers and members of the public. I’d like to make a plea that carers continue to talk to us about what care is like as they are our eyes and ears on the ground.“
Helen Walker, Chief Executive of Carers UK, said:
“The changing priorities of our health and care services during the COVID-19 pandemic has had a significant impact on unpaid carers, and the last 10 months have been an extraordinary time for them. 81% are providing more care for their loved ones, often as a result of health and care systems temporarily reducing their services and relatives’ care needs increasing.
“In many cases, unpaid carers have not got what they needed from these services, going for long periods without a break, not able to get the additional support they need, and in some cases reducing or giving up work altogether to care. Meanwhile some carers have been able to get the practical support they needed.
“We encourage carers to have their say on their experiences of health and social care services during the pandemic – good and bad - so that the right improvements can be made for all carers.”
Tell your local Healthwatch
Our Because We All Care campaign aims to help services identify and address quality issues and support people by encouraging them to share feedback on their experiences of health and social care services in England. Thousands of people have already come forward to share their stories with their local Healthwatch we want to hear more views.
You can provide feedback in two ways: