Half of Bath GP surgeries take up carer scheme

Nearly half of GP surgeries in the Bath area now have a dedicated member of staff whose job it is to identify and support unpaid carers.

It follows a campaign to make sure every practice has a carers champion.

Their jobs are to identify patients who look after loved ones and then put them in touch with available services.

Although carers are believed to make up 10% of the population, nowhere near this figure is known to social services.

Bath and North East Somerset has over 16,000 carers. Since the scheme was introduced in 2010, 16 GP practices out of 38 now have one dedicated worker.

Stumbling block

Jackie Short, of Carers' Centre Bath and North East Somerset, said it was hard to identify those who needed help.

"There's an awful lot of people who are caring for people and don't realise that they are, and that's our biggest stumbling block," she said.

"On many occasions I've been speaking to carers and they've said, 'no, no, you've got it wrong I'm not a carer, she's my mum', and they really see it as something they should do and really do not associate themselves with the name carer."

Carer Val Henfield, who looks after her partner full-time, said: "The surgery keeps in regular contact with me; I now know all about the help the Carers' Centre can give me - it's really good to know they are there for me."

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