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NHS England has published the Integrated approach to identifying and assessing Carer health and wellbeing.
Developed in collaboration with a wide range of partners and which forms part of NHS England’s ongoing Commitment to Carers.
The ‘integrated approach’ provides a toolkit that clarifies the new duties on NHS organisations under the Care Act 2014 and the Children and Families Act 2014, provides a template Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to support joined up working locally, and includes numerous examples of positive practice of work that have proven successful in supporting carers and their families.
Carers are twice as likely to suffer from ill health as non-carers. More than half of those who provide more substantial care have suffered physical ill health as a result of caring, and more than 70 per cent of those caring round the clock have suffered mental ill health at some time.
Taking an integrated approach to delivering support for carers allows the NHS to develop new models of delivering care and allows different services to work together and respond more flexibly to the needs of individual carers and their families.
Neil Churchill, Director of Patient Experience at NHS England, said: “The NHS must do everything it can to help end a situation where carers are twice as likely to suffer from ill health as non-carers. This toolkit will make it easier for carers to access the right support, at the right time and in the right place – we hope those working across the NHS will use it to improve the support they offer.”
Helen Leadbitter, Operational Programme Manager at the Children’s Society, said: “The Children’s Society welcomes the publication of this toolkit which has the potential to help ensure that England’s 170,000 young carers and their families get the support they need at the time they need it. The integrated approach outlined in this toolkit offers an opportunity for all local partners involved in the care of children to co-operate with each other in supporting young carers and their families in a whole systems, whole family approach”.
Emily Holzhausen, Director of Policy and Public Affairs, Carers UK said: “The toolkit sets out some really important clear principles around the duty to cooperate to improve carers’ health and well-being and sets out some common principles across health and social care that could transform carers’ lives. It tackles some key issues that carers have raised time and again and will pay dividends for many carers in improving their experience of care, their ability to juggle work and care, and improve their health and well-being”.
Professor David Croisedale-Appleby OBE, Chair of the Standing Commission on Carers, said: “The Standing Commission of Carers is hopeful that implementation of this toolkit will evidence not only improvements in the lived experience of carers but also the value of working in partnership in an integrated health and social care system; a system that values the carer’s voice and supports staff to provide optimal care for carers consistently.
“The MOU included as part of this toolkit provides an excellent basis for areas that are looking at more regionally based decision-making and devolved responsibilities from national bodies”.
Copies of the toolkit are being sent out to clinical commissioning groups, directors of social services, health and wellbeing boards and local carer support organisations.
Copies of the toolkit can be accessed on our: Commitment to carers web page.