Around one in ten patients in every GP practice is estimated to be a carer to a family member or friend who is sick, disabled, or frail.

Whereas attention is given to supporting the needs of the person being cared for, a carer’s own health care and support can often be overlooked, leading to physical and mental health problems due to stress and depression.

The Royal College of General Practitioners (RCGP) and Carers Trust are calling for nominations for the prestigious Caring About Carers Award that recognises the work of GPs and GP practices in supporting unpaid carers across the UK.

Dr Clare Gerada, Chair of the RCGP said: “Carers are often juggling work and their caring role, and can suffer from ill health themselves as a result, so the support GPs and other primary care workers can offer is often invaluable. 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.”

The Caring About Carers Award is now in its third year. 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.

Anne Roberts, Chief Executive of Carers Trust, 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. We value our very positive partnership with the RCGP and are excited about taking this valuable work forward.’