Does your GP care about carers? Nominations now open for Caring About Carers Awards 2013Carers Trust, The Royal College of General Practitioners (RCGP), and Carers UK are calling for nominations for the Caring About Carers Awards that recognise the work of GPs and GP practices in supporting unpaid carers across the UK.

Around one in ten patients in every GP practice is estimated to care for a relative or friend who is sick, disabled, or frail.  While attention is focused on supporting the needs of the person being cared for, a carer’s own health care and support needs can often be overlooked and it is common for carers to suffer from physical strain or mental health issues such as stress and depression. 

About the awards

The Caring About Carers Awards are now in its fourth year and carers who feel that they have been helped and supported by their GP or GP practice are encouraged to nominate. Nominating a great GP would help to highlight how NHS and social care professionals can make a real difference to carers’ lives.

The RCGP and Carers Trust have been working together for a number of years and in 2011 were joined by Carers UK on a new Supporting Carers in Primary Care programme. Funded by the Department of Health, this programme aims to find and develop new ways of helping GPs and their practice staff to identify and support carers and refer them to local services. 

Individual awards are made to practices in England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales, with an overall award for the GP or practice judged to have made the biggest difference or improvement to carers’ lives.

The closing date for entries is 31 July 2013.

Small changes can make a big difference

Dr Clare Gerada, Chair of the RCGP said: “As the largest source of care and support in the UK, it is in everyone’s interest that carers are well supported. I would like to encourage every carer who has been supported by their GP to write in and tell us how they are being helped. Even small changes to the way GP practices work can make a big difference to the health and wellbeing of carers and we want to share ideas for good practice around the UK to ensure every GP is championing carers health.”

Our Chief Executive, Thea Stein, said: ‘‘GPs are one of the key groups who have regular contact with carers and they play a vital role in making sure that carers get the support they need so they are able to  continue in their caring role. By taking care of carers, GPs are also protecting the health of the person they are caring for.”

Nominations can be made by email caringaboutcarers@rcgp.org.uk