Teesside Mind Supporting Primary Care to be Carer Friendly

Staff in attendance of Primary Care Time Out session

21 March 2024

Teesside Mind Primary Care Co-ordinator, Susan Lee provides an insight into her role:

There has been a lot in the news and media recently about unpaid carers and how hard their role is. The presenter Kate Garraway from Good Morning Britain has shone a spotlight on caring for her husband Derek through her documentaries. 

Across Middlesbrough and Redcar and Cleveland there are a lot of projects to support unpaid carers. The project I’m involved with includes working in partnership with GP Practices to look at how they can become more carer friendly. This includes looking at ways to promote the health and wellbeing of unpaid carers through recognising someone is a carer, offering joint appointments with a loved one for Flu and Covid vaccines, as well as referring you onto organisations that can support you.

Staff in attendance of Primary Care Time Out session

Recently in conjunction with Campbell McNeill from NHS England and Kelly Hodgson from We Care You Care, a guide was developed and sent to all the GP Practices in South Tees. The guide is electronic and packed full of advice on the needs of carers, referral forms and websites. It was designed with you, the carer, in mind to make it easier for your GP or Practice Nurse to give you extra support. 

It's essential that GP’s, Practice Nurses and admin staff keep professionally up dated and hold ‘Time Out’ Sessions with different speakers. I’m often invited to attend these sessions to give a presentation on what organisations are available in South Tees and how unpaid carers can access them. The main objective is to let health care professionals know what being an unpaid carer really means and the pressures you are under.  Recently I attended Redcar Coastal Primary Care Network  ‘Time Out’ session and gave a presentation. Following on from this individual practices have asked to work alongside me to access further training sessions for their staff. 

My project is just one piece of the Jigsaw, there’s a lot going on behind the scenes in South Tees to improve your emotional health and wellbeing, inform you of your rights as a carer, and provide information on how to access any financial support you may be eligible for. Health care professionals and voluntary organisations value the role you have in supporting a family member, friend or neighbour and are eager to support you so please don’t be hesitant about asking for help. 

Telling your GP that you are an unpaid carer will help them to understand and support you better. Complete the Carers GP Registration Form and hand it in, or email it to your surgery. 

Healthwatch South Tees have also created a booklet of top tips for accessing your GP practice, take a look.

Teesside Mind Logo