GPs will be able to more easily identify and support carers of people with long-term illnesses after the RCGP was given £380,000 by the Government to develop an ‘online information hub’.
The hub will be free for healthcare professionals to access, and will provide resources that will help GPs support carers in areas such as diagnosis and end-of-life care.
It will also contain ‘disease specific’ supplementary information and guidance for GPs on questions to ask carers, carers’ rights and where they can turn for support.
The grant from the Department of Health will maintain the funding support for ten regional ‘GP Champions for Carers’ who work with other carer groups to raise the profile and awareness of carers’ issues amongst health professionals.
Dr Sachin Gupta, the RCGP’s clinical lead for the project, said: ‘There are estimated to be over six million carers in the UK, many of whom are not getting the help or access to resources which they need.’
‘I am excited about the RCGP Supporting Carers in General Practice programme, which will go some way to increasing the identification of carers at an earlier stage, ensuring that they are fully supported from the outset.’
Care minister Norman Lamb said: ‘GPs and their staff are often the main point of contact for patients and the people who care for them, so it’s really important that they recognise and understand the impact of caring on carers.’
‘Initiatives like this provide healthcare professionals with information and advice on how best to identify and support carers so they do not have to shoulder their caring responsibilities alone.’
The hub builds on the work of last year’s dementia DES, which required GPs to evaluate carers’ mental wellbeing and discuss their rights in consultations.