GP There are so many people who get missed in the hurry to get seen, examined, diagnosed and out.
GP Receptionist And out you can often miss what’s right there in front of you. And be so focused on the patient and their needs, you actually miss the person in the background. The person that actually might be struggling to cope.
GP We get 10 minutes for each patient, focused on their needs often not enough time to delve into their carers needs. We’re doing our best to deliver a service under pressure with as much empathy as we can manage.
Patients don’t see the pressure, they don’t see the stress, the effort to stay ahead of targets and provide the standard of care we expect of ourselves. But we can take so much pressure of the system and ourselves by preventing those patients from being there in the first place.
GP Receptionist So just by asking a few easy questions and following a few simple guidelines, we can help those that are caring for others.
Most carers actually don’t know they are carers and that actually they can get support from other services. We know that by helping carers earlier in their caring journey we can help reduce demand on our services in the longer term.
Carer It feels like I’m invisible. All the focus is on my mum and what she needs. I don’t want to make a fuss or cause any bother, but being able to get a GP appointment when I’m not working would really help.
GP There’s a list of questions and guidelines developed by GPs and supporting organisations for best practice, to make sure that we are identifying carers and supporting them properly.
The Quality Markers developed by the NHS help identify carers and support them in six different areas.
- Identification and registration – Basically, trying to find out who the carers are and have a separate register for them and then direct them to the appropriate available resources and services.
- Appointments and access – Offering flexible appointments to carers when they need it and where they need it, sometimes even out of hours.
- Information, Involvement and Communication – Asking the right questions. Rather than asking “are you a carer?” instead asking “are you looking after someone who cannot cope without you?” Then we can signpost them to local carer services.
- Holistic support – Improving the care experience. Training staff to be carer aware from the moment they enter the door, through every interaction they have with the practice.
- In practice support – For example, having a dedicated Carer Champion within your practice.
- Awareness and Culture – Through your career champions, ensuring that the entire practice understands the care quality markers and implements them effectively.
By making some simple changes, our practice has improved CQC practice compliance, improved health and well-being of our carers, reduced demand on our services and staff, made financial savings in prescribing budgets, made better use of our practice appointments and targeted treatments. This will reduce stress on the patients and reduce stress on their carers and us as GPs and ensure the best possible outcomes for them.
Because we care too.