Experiences of unpaid carers registering with GP practices in Cheshire

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Summary of report content

During some targeted Healthwatch engagement activity with people attending carers groups it became apparent, both from carer support organisations and people themselves, that there appeared to be an issue with carers registering with their GP Practice as a carer.

Healthwatch in Cheshire received 195 responses from unpaid carers.

Findings

 In both Cheshire East and Cheshire West and Chester, around two out of every three people Healthwatch spoke to had registered with their GP Practice as a carer. This appears to be positively influenced by the work of Cheshire and Warrington Carers Trust, and more recently the Cheshire East Carers Hub, who are commissioned to deliver carers services and projects across both Cheshire West and Chester and Cheshire East.

A sizeable number of people were not aware they could register as a carer with their GP Practice - 22% of respondents in Cheshire East and 29% in Cheshire West and Chester.

 Of those who were aware they could register as a carer, but had not, Healthwatch’s findings suggest that they are not aware of the benefits on offer to them by registering.

Of those registered as a carer with their GP, a minority felt they had benefited and received a good service. Most people did not appear to receive the full range of possible expected benefits highlighted by the Care Act 2014 and Carers Federation as good practice.

Most respondents did not feel they had benefited a great deal from registering with their GP Practice as a carer. Although there appeared to be some benefits that more people felt they recognised, for examples receiving flu jabs, people were uncertain whether it was connected to being a carer or possibly the easiest of the benefits to fulfil.

Many carers believed that there was a lack of awareness and understanding of carers’ rights and the challenges of their role from staff at GP Practices. This could also sometimes be noticed in a lack of support when booking an appointment and a lack of knowledge about signposting to carer support services by GP Practice staff.

There were particular benefits that some respondents felt more passionate about and would like to see some change regarding. For example, GP Practice staff having more awareness of the role of a carer, more conveniently timed appointments, and being involved in the care planning of the person for whom they were caring.

Recommendations

  • Primary Care commissioners and Clinical Commissioning Groups should
    • review outcomes from survey and share with appropriate partners, services and carers.
    • Carry out review of Care Act expectations around carers’ rights, and organise appropriate awareness raising for health services.
    • Work with carers support organisations to develop a collaborative approach to prioritise benefits and develop an agreed and appropriate improvement strategy.
    • organise a broader dialogue between GP Practices and carers support organisations to overcome inconsistent approaches from different GP Practices.
  • GP Practices should share examples of good practice to support strategy and overcome inconsistencies.
  • Clinical Commissioning Groups should engage with carers as a specific group across broader range of health topics, e.g. longer-term conditions – autism, mental health, dementia, etc

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General details

Report title 
Experiences of unpaid carers registering with GP practices in Cheshire
Local Healthwatch 
Healthwatch Cheshire East
Healthwatch Cheshire West and Chester
Date of publication 
Monday, 11 November, 2019
Date evidence capture began 
Thursday, 1 November, 2018
Date evidence capture finished 
Thursday, 28 February, 2019
Type of report 
Report
Key themes 
Access
Patient records
Healthwatch reference number 
Rep-5004

Methodology and approach

Was the work undertaken at the request of another organisation? 
No
Primary research method used 
Survey
How was the information collected? 
Survey
If an Enter and View methodology was applied, was the visit announced or unannounced? 
N/A

Details of health and care services included in the report

Primary care services 
GP practice

Details of people who shared their views

Number of people who shared their views 
195
Age group 
All
Gender 
All
Ethnicity 
All
Sexual orientation 
Not known
Does the information include public's views? 
No
Does the information include carer's, friend's or relative's views? 
Yes
Does the information include staff's views? 
No
Does the information include other people's views? 
No
What was the main sentiment of the people who shared their views? 
Mixed

Outcomes and impact

Were recommendations made by local Healthwatch in the report? 
Yes
Does the information contain a response from a provider? 
No
Is there evidence of impact in the report? 
Yes
Is there evidence of impact external to the report? 
Not known
What type of impact was determined? 
Network related impact

Network Impact
Relationships that exist locally, regionally, nationally have benefited from the work undertaken in the report
 
Implied Impact
Where it is implied that change may occur in the future as a result of Healthwatch work. This can be implied in a provider  response, press release or other source. Implied impact can become tangible impact once change has occurred.
 
Tangible Impact
There is evidence of change that can be directly attributed to Healthwatch work undertaken in the report.