Carers are the unsung heroes of our society. They selflessly look after loved ones, often with little or no support, because it’s something they either want to do or feel they have to do.
They are a vital part of the fabric of local communities and need looking after. The latest census data suggests that around 33,000 Doncaster people care for someone, though the number who officially get help from local services to help them carry out the role is a lot less than this.
We want to change this situation and provide support to more of them, which is why NHS Doncaster Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) and Doncaster Council are today jointly launching an engagement period with local carers to find out how we can do just that.
As a Doncaster-based GP, I know that carers play a vital part in promoting the wellbeing and independence of the people they care for. I also understand, from taking to many carers at my surgery, that there are many challenges attached to caring. So it’s crucial that we provide better support to ensure they can maintain their own health and wellbeing and, importantly, have a life of their own alongside their caring role.
The Government has put in place plans to extend the right to a carer’s assessment and provide entitlement to public support for the first time. The aim is to identify carers as soon as possible and in doing so give them greater choice and control over their own lives so they can better ‘juggle’ their work, education or leisure activities alongside their caring responsibilities.
I’m delighted that those who care for others are having the recognition they deserve and will finally be looked after themselves.
In Doncaster, our aim over the next three years is to make life much easier for carers on a number of fronts, including helping them to stay mentally and physically well and to be treated with dignity.
As part of our engagement, we have produced an online survey which asks what kind of support should be available. If you’re a carer you can let us have your views anonymously by going to https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/donccarers. It only takes a couple of minutes to complete and there’s space to type in any particular points you want to make.
It will form part of a wider conversation we want to have with carers across the borough, which will run until the end of September this year.
We will read every response and the comments made will help in the development of a new carers’ strategy for Doncaster, which will be launched on Friday 20 November, which is Carers’ Rights Day. More about that in the future but in the meantime, if you’re a carer please take part in our survey because your thoughts, ideas and experiences matter.