GP identification of unpaid carers

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Summary of report content

Healthwatch North East Lincolnshire received feedback that GP Practices and the care navigation system is not working as efficiently as it should and unpaid carers may not be signposted to appropriate services when they require them. The Carers Support Service were spoken to and they raised concerns and asked how patients were receiving information at the point of contact with Primary Care.  They undertook surveys of practice managers and unpaid carers and mystery shopping.  In total they spoke to 74 people.

Most unpaid carers have been registered at their GP Practice for longer than they have been an unpaid carer and have not been identified by their GP Practice. The average amount of time respondents have been registered at their GP Practice is 16.7 years, which is greater than the average amount of time respondents have been unpaid carers, being 7.4 years.

Most of the GP Practices stated that they identify unpaid carers at the point of registration, therefore meaning that if an existing patient was to become an unpaid carer, they are unlikely to be identified by their GP Practice.

Not all GP Practices had knowledge of the difference between an unpaid carer and a carer. Most surgeries identify unpaid carers at the point of registration and give information as it is requested. Not all carers recognise themselves as carers meaning they would be unlikely to request information or identify themselves as carers at the point of registration.

The findings of the Mystery Shopping exercise indicate that the provision and accessibility of information is not consistent across the GP Practice sites in North East Lincolnshire. Many of the unpaid carers who responded said that they were not aware of the services available to unpaid carers, even those whose GP Practice had identified them as unpaid carers.

The report contains 12 recommendations.

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General details

Report title 
GP identification of unpaid carers
Local Healthwatch 
Healthwatch North East Lincolnshire
Date of publication 
Friday, 30 April, 2021
Key themes 
Communication between staff and patients
Holistic support
Information providing
Quality of care
Staff training

Methodology and approach

Was the work undertaken at the request of another organisation? 
No
Primary research method used 
Observation
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 
74
Age group 
Not known
Gender 
Not known
Ethnicity 
Not known
Sexual orientation 
Not known
Does the information include public's views? 
Yes
Does the information include carer's, friend's or relative's views? 
Yes
Does the information include staff's views? 
Yes
Types of health and care professionals engaged 
Doctors
Service manager
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? 
No
Is there evidence of impact external to the report? 
Not known

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.