The CQC will assess GP practices on their ability to support carers, under guidelines laid out in the NHS long-term plan.
NHS England’s plan for the next 10 years said new quality marks will help to identify carer-friendly practices going forward.
The plan, published yesterday, also encourages nationwide adoption of a carer’s ‘passport’ trialled in Bristol and Manchester. These passports allow carers to be identified and included in planning for patient treatment.
There will be new contingency plans for patients who are also carers, and GPs will be issued with advice on supporting young carers.
The plan says: ‘Quality marks for carer-friendly GP practices, developed with the Care Quality Commission (CQC), will help carers identify GP services that can accommodate their needs.’
It also lays out the strategy for identifying carers.
‘We will encourage the national adoption of carer’s passports, which identify someone as a carer and enable staff to involve them in a patient’s care, and set out guidelines for their use based on trials in Manchester and Bristol,’ it says.
The plan proposes the creation of contingency plans for carers, which will be incorporated into their Summary Care Records. It is not yet clear if GPs will be responsible for drafting contingency plans.
NHS England’s plan also acknowledges the specific challenges facing young carers, with new guidelines set to be issued to GPs.
It says: ‘The NHS will roll out “top tips” for general practice which have been developed by Young Carers, which include access to preventive health and social prescribing, and timely referral to local support services.’
Around 5.5m people in England, some 10% of the population, identified themselves as carers in the latest census data. Carers are twice as likely to suffer ill-health compared with the national average.
A CQC spokesperson said: ‘We will continue to ask practices to demonstrate how they identify and support carers, this isn’t changing. However, if they wished to they will likely be able to use information gathered for NHSE’s indicators to evidence how they support carers, but there wouldn’t be a requirement for them to use them.’