We were delighted to welcome over 20 carers to our Carers Rights Day event on 24th November 2022. Carers were joined by staff from The Carers Centre along with Terry, Chief of Staff at NHS Sussex and 3 of his colleagues. The theme of Carers Rights Day this year was ‘caring costs’ and in their communications, Carers UK outlined that this includes ‘the cost to unpaid carers’ wellbeing and ability to access health services’. This is why we invited Terry and his NHS colleagues to engage with carers about their experiences of accessing healthcare.
An enthusiastic discussion followed updates on recent carer engagement work that the Centre has undertaken and the formation of NHS Sussex Integrated Care System (known locally as Sussex Health and Care Partnership). Our discussions included recommendations to take the opportunity to amplify local carers’ voices at a national level, improve access to straightforward information about available services and a need for first contact clinicians to improve carer identification.
The Carers Centre will continue to work with carers and the NHS towards our foundational recommendations which were published in 2021. In preparing for the event, we asked carers to score each of our initial 6 recommendations out of 10 based on how important each was to them. We had 59 respondents and here are the average scores:
Reduce negative impact of caring on mental health – 9.1/10
Roadmap for services and support – 9.1/10
Improve identification of carers – 8.5/10
Mandatory carer awareness training for all NHS staff – 8.5/10
Centralised carers records – 7.6/10
Regular and consistent messaging – 7.4/10
A huge thank you to everyone who was able to attend and/or vote on priorities prior to the session. We would encourage anyone interested in sharing their lived experience as a carer, to consider joining our Carers Voice group which meets on a quarterly basis.