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.