It led me to reflect on what progress we have made.
It will be impossible, in a blog, to cover everything and all the work that has been going on for the last year given we made 37 commitments across eight key priorities.
These include raising the profile of carers, education and training, person-centred coordinated care and primary care, and have been developed in partnership with carers, patients, partner organisations and care professionals over the past few months.
England’s five and a half million carers make a critical and underappreciated contribution not only to loved ones, neighbours and friends, but to the very sustainability of the NHS in England.
The commitment to carers is to give them the recognition and support they need to provide invaluable care for loved ones. Carers are hugely important to the NHS, their importance and value is recognised in NHS England’s Five Year Forward View which commits the NHS to find new ways to support them.
Getting traction and action has been made possible through a delivery group with carers organisations and with the leadership and support from senior executives in NHS England and our teams across multiple directorates.
The first priority was to raise the profile of carers. Given the importance of the Five Year Forward View, I would point to this as just one example of where we have woven the importance of carers into what we are asking of the system.
Education and training, delivering person centred care, primary care and commissioning support were equal priorities. I can point to the work and case studies supported by NHS Improving Quality, the handbooks published to help professionals deliver person-centred care, the leadership and support from the RCGP with their programme for carers and even the award NHS England is sponsoring with the HSJ this year for the best example of commissioning for carers.
NHS England also sits on a cross-Government strategy group and as an employer is a registered and active member of Carers UK/Employers for Carers UK.
Is that enough? Of course not. It will take time and ownership by everyone who delivers and supports individuals and carers. What we can try to do at the centre is make it easy for people to say ‘we have done this because of the system, not despite the system’.
It is a start, there is a long way to go but I hope when the formal update is published in the near future people will acknowledge that we have begun to move beyond commitment and into action.
To mark Carers’ Week, we have launched the final Active Workforce Campaign pledge: ‘Pledge Ten – Carers’. Find out more about Carers’ Week and the resources we have available, including complimentary online membership to Carers UK for anyone who is a carer.
- Carers’ Week 2015 runs from 8 to 14 June. Find out more about what the local NHS is doing to support it.