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Carers and famillies

“A carer is anybody who looks after a family member, partner or friend who needs help because of their illness, frailty or disability. All the care they give is unpaid.” NHS England’s Commitment for Carers 2014

“If we are to build an NHS that is fit for the future then carers must be full partners in the way we deliver that care” Our long term commitment to carers, blog 8 January 2019

“We will improve how we identify unpaid carers, and strengthen support for them to address their individual health needs.” NHS Long Term Plan 2019


Coronavirus resources for carers compiled by NHS Library and Knowledge Services here.


The term ‘carer’ is important in both policy and legal terms.  We may speak of carer, next of kin, lasting power of attorney, nearest relative – and so the meaning of the term ‘carer’ may not always be quite clear. It is applied both to paid staff and to family or friends who assume caring roles (also known as informal carers).

The mandate from the government to Health Education England 2019 – 20 describes the importance of providing better support for carers and expanding the role of volunteers as part of its new ways of working in 21st century. (HEE Mandate 2019-20 p12)

Work on the NHS England Commitment to Carers  includes a series of best-practice Quality Markers for primary care that highlight existing best practice in carer identification and  support for carers of all ages.  These Quality Markers have been designed so that they will also provide evidence for other organisations, including the Care Quality Commission.

The Royal College of General Practitioners has developed a range of Carers support resources to help GPs and primary healthcare staff in their support of people with caring responsibilities including Supporting Carers in General Practice

  • Supporting Carers in General Practice – a 3 hour course providing information and guidance for GPs and other community healthcare professionals to enable them to build carer involvement and support into their everyday practice.
  • Taking Action to Support Carers in Practice Teams – a 2 hour training DVD designed to focus on supporting carers from a practice perspective.
  • Supporting Carers in General Practice is also available on the eLearning for Healthcare platform.

The Carers Trust  has a range of resources and information for anyone working professionally with carers. Browse the resources for primary care staff

Carers UK is a national membership charity for carers. Their website has a section for professionals. See the Digital Resources for carers which  brings together a number of specially designed digital products and online resources, to help organisations provide comprehensive information and support for carers.

The Children’s Society have a number of resources for professionals working with young carers.


The CPD Zone is brought to you by the GP schools of Health Education England working across Thames Valley and Wessex, in association with Oxford Health FT Library.​

Last updated: 30 April, 2021

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