A new peer support group has been formed to share best practice among GP staff on how best to identify and reach out to carers coming into surgeries.
The Carers’ Champion Peer Support Group comprises staff members who have all been trained to make sure other surgery staff are aware of the needs of carers and refer them for support and advice if requested from Carers in Hertfordshire.
One of its key initiatives so far has been to devise a standard carer support referral form to replace the separate ones previously held by each surgery.
Carers’ Champion Peer Group chair Wendy Darnell said: “Previously if carers were registered at one surgery but the person they cared for was registered elsewhere they would have to fill out two separate forms as each surgery had their own. Now there is just one form which can be dropped off at any surgery.”
The group is also piloting a new partnership with pharmacies who have been issued with the form to encourage carers to come forward for help and support. The group then hopes to distribute the form to community services, shops and local businesses.
Wendy, a receptionist at Stanmore Medical Group, Stanmore Road, where she is also a Carer Champion, said: “People don’t see themselves as carers, they just fall into the role and never come forward for help. By enlisting the support of pharmacies we hope to be able to refer more carers for support.”
Pharmacist Radeep Aggarwal of Stearns Pharmacy, High Street, Old Town, pictured with Wendy, said: “The majority of carers go straight to their pharmacist and are often not seen by their surgery. We frequently deal with both the carer and the person being cared for’s medication so are best placed to identify carers. Now we can refer them for the support they so badly need.”
By registering as a carer with a GP surgery carers can be offered:
- flexible appointment times
- free flu vaccines
- support and advice
- the opportunity to sign up for the Carers’ Passport which gives carers discounts on shops and services.
The Carers’ Champion Peer Support Group has representatives from Bedwell, Canterbury Way, Chells, King George, Manor House, Shephall Way, Symond Green and Stanmore Medical Group surgeries.
From left: Pharmacist Radeep Aggarwal with Stevenage Carers’ Champion Peer Group members Sandra Makinde, Lorraine Row, Sharon Boxer, Jenny Coleman, Debbie Osowski and Wendy Darnell.