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£6m boost to help GPs identify carers

Government offers £6m to help GPs identify carers earlier

Louise Prime

Friday, 26 November 2010

The Government has allocated funding of up to £6m over the next four years in a ‘new strategy’ to help GPs identify carers sooner, it has announced. Care services minister Paul Burstow announced the money as part of a package of broad measures designed to support carers.

He revealed the package – titled Recognised, valued and supported: next steps for the carers strategy – at yesterday’s Carers UK Summit.

The cross-Government strategy is meant to fit with its ‘vision for adult social care’ and identifies four priorities to boost support for carers:

  • identification and recognition of carers
  • realising and releasing potential of carers
  • a life outside of caring
  • supporting carers to stay healthy.

The new funding announced yesterday is aimed at enabling GP practices to better identify carers. It will be part of a new training package for GPs.

Another part of the strategy is to help those carers who wish to do so, to keep up their paid employment. The Government is going to consult next year on extending the right to request flexible working to all employees, including those who care for friends and neighbours.

Paul Burstow said: “Identifying and supporting carers is critical. Over the past six months we have listened closely to what carers want and we have identified four key priorities.

“We need better information and advice, allowing people to negotiate the system more smoothly. And we need better support to help carers stay in or get back to work, as many would like to do.

“Today’s strategy outlines a number of ways to ensure carers continue to feel valued and lead full and rewarding lives.

“We all have a role to play in this, whether we work for a GP practice which could provide more personalised care and support for carers or we are an employer that could offer a small change in working hours or provide flexible working arrangements.”

Last week the Government announced £400m to be channelled through the NHS to support carers’ breaks overt the coming four years.

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