Carers

Carers

Carers look after family, partners, or friends who need help because they are ill, frail, or have a disability. The care they provide is unpaid. This includes adults looking after other adults, parent carers looking after disabled children, and young carers under 18 years of age looking after siblings, parents, or other relatives.' (Carers' UK).

Do you look after someone?

Do you look after an elderly, frail, or disabled friend or relative who could not manage without you? Is this care unpaid?

These carers support leaflets, created by Action for Carers Surrey, provide helpful advice and support for carers in Surrey:

Register as a carer

Everyone at your surgery must know that you are a carer so they can support you and help if needed.

GPs are responsible for supporting and working with you in your caring role and helping you maintain your health. GP practices must identify and register all carers who use their practice, so please let your GP know if you are looking after someone.

  • Why Register? Different types of help and support are available to you as a carer. Once registered as a carer with your GP, access and referral to schemes and local services become much more straightforward.
  • How to Register - to do this, complete a yellow Carer Registration Form (or this version if you are under 18) available from your GP surgery, and hand it in at reception.

Importance of Covid-19 vaccinations for carers

It is as vital as ever for carers to get vaccinated. Unpaid carers are one of the government's priority groups for COVID-19 vaccination. In Surrey Heartlands, 89% of carers are fully vaccinated, which is fantastic. However, carers from ethnic minorities are underrepresented, making up just 10% of this number. 

Dr Pramit Patel, a local GP in Surrey, explains in this video below why it is important to tell your GP that you have caring responsibilities and to clarify that we are here to support carers from all communities and backgrounds. Although life can become very hectic, especially if you look after someone, we know that carers often carry on regardless, but it's essential not to neglect your health needs. You care, so we should care for you. 

Your GP practice will record on your medical records that you are a carer and will be entitled to additional help and support. For example, you may be given a Carers prescription which will help access lots of support. Including advice and information, support groups and activities, training, and respite breaks. If you have not previously registered as a carer with your GP practice, they will also explain how you receive a Covid vaccination or booster. 

See our Covid-19 vaccination programme section for more.

Surrey Carers Strategy 2021-2024: supporting carers in Surrey

Surrey Heartlands Health and Care Partnership and partners have published the Surrey Carers Strategy 2021 to 2024 [pdf] 1MB, which pledges their commitment to improve and develop services to support unpaid carers. This video describes the approach taken to produce the strategy.

Unpaid carers carry out a vitally important role. However, people may not see themselves as carers, instead seeing caring as an extension of their family role: daughters, sons, or partners, for example, doing what families and friends do.

The Surrey Carers Strategy 2021 to 2024 sets out values and priorities for the next three years, reaffirming the commitment and determination to help carers continue caring if they are willing and able to support their health and wellbeing by achieving outcomes they have identified that matter most to them.

This strategy has been developed in line with 'Together for Carers', a memorandum of understanding between health and social care and a wide range of partners to work together to enhance support for carers of all ages. As well as the summary version [pdf] 362KB of the strategy, you can read a full version [pdf] 1MB and an easy-to-read version [pdf] 9MB.

The Care Act 2014

The Care Act 2014 is the most significant change to English adult social care law in over 60 years. Key areas of the Act include:

  • General responsibilities of local authorities include promoting people's wellbeing, focusing on prevention and providing information and advice
  • The introduction of consistent, national eligibility criteria
  • New rights to support carers on an equivalent basis to the people they care for
  • Legal right to a personal budget and direct payment
  • The extension of local authority adult social care responsibility to include prisons
  • New responsibilities around transition, provider failure, supporting people who move between local authority areas and safeguarding

Surrey County Council is working with residents, carers and key partners to keep the residents of Guildford and Waverley informed about the upcoming changes. Further information about the Act is available on the Surrey County Council website.

Support and resources

A carer is anyone who cares, unpaid, for a friend or family member who, due to illness, disability, a mental health problem, or an addiction, cannot cope without their support. So anyone can be a carer – a 15-year-old girl looking after a parent with an alcohol problem, a 40-year-old man caring for his partner who has terminal cancer, or an 80-year-old woman looking after her husband with Alzheimer's disease. 

The Surrey County Council Surrey Young Carers Joint Strategic Needs Assessment helps us and our partners understand the needs of young carers in Surrey and what more needs to be done to support them.

Resources for all carers

  • Action for Carers Surrey - Surrey-wide services support all carers through various services, including Adult Carers Support, Young Carers Service, Moving and Handling and Giving Carers a Voice.
  • Cabernet - this website is full of resources for carers in Surrey and professionals.
  • Carer's Allowance online application system - Carer's Allowance benefits people aged 16 and over who look after someone with substantial caring needs.
  • Carers Club - your one-stop shop for practical information and support for carers. Clear, simple, straightforward advice and support about your caring journey or the journey of a carer you know.
  • Carers UK - the UK's only national membership charity for carers, Carers UK is a support network and a movement for change.
  • Crossroads Care Surrey - Crossroads Care Surrey is the leading provider of respite breaks for carers and the people they care for in Surrey.
  • Flu jab for carers - if you care for someone who is elderly, frail or disabled, speak to your GP about having a flu jab along with the person you care for.
  • NHS Choices - Guide to Care - a step-by-step guide to the practical help, support and advice on offer and how to get it, including how to look after someone.
  • Looking after someone? - Surrey Council and the NHS have produced a leaflet offering essential information for carers in Surrey.
  • Surrey Independent Living Council - provides information to enable people to live more independently. They also offer information for carers, such as the GP break service.
  • About Me - building resilience for caring - an e-learning course aims to help carers find resources, technologies and support. The course also focuses on how carers can look after themselves to prevent caring responsibilities from becoming overwhelming. Learn more about this course on the Carers UK website.
  • Jointly app - working across different platforms (online, iOS and Android) and devices, the Jointly app is a central place where carers can store important information about the person they are looking after and share this information with other family members involved in the care. Jointly combines several valuable features, including group messaging, calendar, task allocation and medication management.
  • Surrey Information Point

Resources and support for all carers in Surrey

Resources for adult carers

  • Carer Smart - offers, benefits and discounts are available exclusively for carers and people with care needs. Parent carers can access specific information, including financial support.
  • Family Voice Surrey - parent carers can find additional support through Family Voice Surrey. This forum allows parents to offer a robust and collective voice and network with others.

Resources for young adult carers

Young adult carers are people aged 16–25 who care, unpaid, for a family member or friend with an illness or disability, mental health condition or an addiction.

  • Carer Smart - offers, benefits and discounts are available exclusively for carers and people with care needs.
  • Carers Trust: Know Your Rights - young and adult carers in England have the right to information and to assess the support they need from the council. This guide explains what those rights are. It also tells you what should happen when you talk to the council about being a young carer or young adult carer.

Resources for young carers

A young carer is someone under 18 who helps look after someone in their family, or a friend, who is ill, disabled or misuses drugs or alcohol.

  • Carers Trust: Know Your Rights - young and young adult carers in England have the right to information and assess the support they need from the council. This guide explains what those rights are. It also tells you what should happen when you talk to the council about being a young carer or young adult carer.
  • Surrey Young Carers - if you are a young carer looking after a family member, there is a site for you, including their latest newsletter.
  • Young Carers: Who are they? What do they do? - a helpful summary poster to help learn and raise awareness of young carers.
  • Young Carers Stuff - information and resources for those involved in supporting young carers across Surrey.
  • Military Young Carers - follow on Twitter for updates on how Military Young Carers can access support in Surrey.

Need someone to talk to?

The feelings that carers experience as they go through their caring journey can be some of the most confusing and overwhelming they will ever encounter. For many, family and friends can help 'lend an ear' and be an invaluable resource in unburdening the emotional stresses that are caring invariably brings; the important thing is for the carer to have access to someone they can 'off load' to.

It's important to know that there are other options available, though. Confidential support offered by the local carers' services is an excellent place to start, but for some, having a professional counsellor may be a preferred option.

Counselling can help make sense of the role carers have, whether in specific areas such as dealing with bereavement or separation from a loved one or with the more general feelings of stress, anxiety, and depression.

If you are a carer and would like to explore the option of speaking to a counsellor, please talk to your GP in the first instance. Alternatively, the following organisations can provide help and guidance to find a counsellor local to where you live:

Resources and training for health professionals who support carers in Surrey

Employers, teachers, GPs, nurses and other professionals who contact carers and young carers during the working day can get support and training from the Action for Carers Surrey website.

Remember, you aren't on your own.

Debbie Hustings, our Partnership Manager for Carers, will be happy to advise. You can email her at debbie.hustings@nhs.net

Alternatively, please pick up the phone or drop us an email.