‘Here for Carers’ is a national campaign launched by Carers Trust Wales, Community Pharmacy Wales and Public Health Wales. The campaign will run throughout October and is aimed at raising awareness of unpaid carers amongst pharmacists, and ensuring carers are aware of how pharmacies can assist them.

There are over 370,000 carers across Wales. 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. Carers are often required to administer medicines, and to order and collect prescriptions on behalf of the person they care for.

This can be a huge responsibility for carers, and pharmacists are uniquely positioned to provide much needed advice and support. Pharmacists can provide vital services such as Medicine Use Reviews, advice on treatment for minor ailments and the flu vaccine, and signposting carers to relevant services that could benefit themselves and those they care for.

To ensure carers take advantage of the support offered by pharmacists, a free bilingual booklet ‘A Carer’s Guide to Managing Medicines / Canllaw i Ofalwyr ar Reoli Meddyginiaeth’ will be available from all pharmacies in Wales, and we are asking all pharmacists to be on the lookout for carers, ensuring they are identified and supported as much as possible, wherever possible. Pharmacies will be displaying a ‘Here for Carers’ campaign poster encouraging carers to speak to their pharmacist about how they can help.

Stephen Morris, a carer from North East Wales Carers Information Service (NEWCIS) who cares for his mother, is certain he will benefit from the campaign, saying “my mother has very complex health needs and struggles to keep up with the many different medications she takes. In the past I have not known who to turn to if mum forgot to take one dose of medication or if I was worried some of the medication shouldn’t be taken together.”

Simon Hatch, Director of Carers Trust Wales, said “this campaign is a fantastic way to ensure valuable contributions unpaid carers make in Wales is being fully recognised, as they often deal with tasks that can equate to those of a medically qualified nurse.

“That’s why it’s essential that we ensure carers are fully informed and have access to advice and support in managing medicines for those they care for. We’re delighted to be working with pharmacies, as they are important community hubs and the perfect place to reach out to the 370,000 carers in Wales, helping them get the information, advice and support that they need.”

The campaign will run throughout October online and in pharmacies across Wales, including a launch event opened by Mark Drakeford AM, Minister for Health and Social Care, taking place on Thursday 8th October at 11am in the Co-operative Pharmacy, Bute Square, Cardiff.