Summary of report content
Healthwatch Sheffield undertook research about carers’ access to GP services, as research has found that carers have a less positive experience of visiting their GP compared to people who are not carers. They spoke to 160 carers during the period December 2019 to early March 2020.
The average age of participants was 46 years with the youngest respondent aged under 10 and the oldest aged over 80. The majority were women and 19% were men. Around 10 people were from minority ethnic backgrounds. The majority lived with the person they care for. A third cared for someone under 25.
Carers felt that they were not acknowledged and not supported by their GP, unless they put in the effort. Nearly half of survey respondents had seen information for carers on display in surgeries but it was suggested that more information needs to be made available. Only 16% were informed about their rights to a carer’s needs assessment or young carer’s assessment. Less than a quarter were offered information about other support services that can help them.
Less than a fifth were offered regular health checks. Only 18% were asked about their mental wellbeing. Just under a quarter were offered referrals to other support services that could help them. Only about a third were offered flexibility with appointment times working around their caring role. Around a quarter were given options on how to access support when they can’t get to the surgery because of their caring role (e.g. home visits or telephone consultations).
Less than a third of survey respondents felt that they had time to talk about their needs. A number of people called for a more compassionate attitude from staff.
Three in five carers were involved in discussions about the healthcare of the person they care for: However, some called for improving how carers are involved:
Young carers were not always recognised for their role: They felt staff could be more proactive in identifying young carers.
There is a gap in support for parent carers. They also felt that there was a lack of consistency by services as to when consent was sought from the person who was cared for.
The report concludes with a list of the good things that GPs do to support carers and 5 recommendations to address the findings of this report.