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NHS calls on communities to be ‘carer friendly’

Health commissioners in Nottinghamshire are supporting a national campaign this week to build stronger carer friendly communities.

It is estimated that as many as 60% of people in the UK will be carers at some time and there are thought to be as many as 33,000 adults caring for a loved one in Nottinghamshire. This figure is expected to rise as the population increases and people live longer, often with complex health conditions which requires the care of a family member or loved one.

Of the 11m children under 18 in the UK, a quarter of these live in families where there are chronic physical or mental health problems, illness or disability. As many as 700,000 children and 250,000 young adults (aged 18-24) have unpaid caring roles within their own families. Some will provide care for more than 50 hours a week.

Carers Week, 8-14 June 2015, is an annual campaign to raise awareness of caring, to highlight the challenges carers face and to recognise the contribution they make to families and communities throughout the UK.

This year the campaign’s focus is on building Carer Friendly Communities – communities which support carers to look after their loved ones well, while recognising that they are individuals with needs of their own.

The clinical lead for NHS Nottingham North and East Clinical Commissioning Group, Dr Paul Oliver said: “Caring for a loved one can be physically and emotionally demanding and can leave carers feeling isolated, exhausted and vulnerable to poor health. The most vital step for carers to access the right support is simply to tell their GP they are a carer. This can trigger a range of support and advice that could make a huge difference to their lives.”

Gail Scott-Spicer, Chief Executive for Carers Trust, said: “Carers often care every day of the year. This is a week where we can focus and listen to the issues they face and raise awareness of the crucial part they play in their families and communities.
“They do so much for the people they care for, as well as society in general, saving the economy billions of pounds every year. It’s vital that they receive the support they need to continue caring, and help them to make the choice of whether, how and when they deliver unpaid care.

“Carers Week plays a key role in raising awareness of carers’ needs, as well as highlighting the many services available to them from charities like ourselves.”

She added that carers want to live in communities that support them to care well and safely, that respect their caring role, and help them to be involved and consulted about the care and support of the person they care for.
Carers also say that they want to be supported to be healthy themselves, to be able to work if they want to, and to have a life of their own outside their caring role. They want to be treated as an individual with needs of their own, and not only as a carer of someone else.To find out more about Carers Week please visit the websites – where you can also sign up to pledge your support to help build more Carer Friendly Communities.

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