The number of people caring for a close family member or friend, who could not cope without their support, is rising. People need to be supported to develop the knowledge, skills and confidence to manage their own conditions and to care for others.
- Around 5.5 million people support a friend or family member as unpaid carers
- 1.4 million unpaid carers care for more than 50 hours a week
- 20% of carers do not have access to any support
- Across health and care 3 million people regularly volunteer
- There are 300,000 volunteers in over one hundred different roles across the NHS
- The number of carers and volunteers far outweighs the combined health and social care workforce. They are not, and cannot become, substitutes for professional staff, but they are part of the care family, so need and deserve more support. Much preparatory work has been done; the government’s 2016 call for evidence on a carers’ strategy, NHS England’s work on self-management and HEE’s consultation on a volunteering strategy.
However, still more work is needed to support, enable and empower individuals, carers and volunteers through education and training. Recognising this, HEE is announcing a series of work streams and reviews to look at how we can better support the education and training needs of volunteers, carers and patients
HEE will work with Sir Tom Hughes-Hallett, chair of HelpForce, on a new independent initiative to promote high impact volunteering across the NHS
HEE will work with unpaid carers and their representative organisations to consider healthcare education and training needs for unpaid carers, to empower and equip them with the knowledge and skills they need
HEE’s Patients Advisory Forum (PAF) will consider the role that HEE could play in providing education and training to patients on managing their conditions
Our HEE Carers Network have a week-long plan of activity that will highlight the challenges, and also the joys of being a carer. Many people don’t think of themselves as having caring responsibilities, so this week may also help you to identify as a carer and access much-needed support.
- On Tuesday 7 June, between 14:00 and 14:50, our carers will be hosting a webinar* to talk about their experiences and answer questions you have. To register, please email [email protected]. *Please be aware that the subject of assisted dying will be discussed.
- One of the themes of Carers Week is self-care. Please join us on Thursday 9 June, between 11:00 and 11:50, to learn hints and tips about what you can do to make things easier for yourself. To register, please email [email protected].
- Later in the week we’ll be releasing a video created by one of our carers that focusses on the journey made with their autistic sister. From concerns about overmedication to owning their own home, this truly brings to life the overwhelming rollercoaster of emotions involved in being a carer.
- Look out for articles on HEE Connect from our carers, who will be sharing their difficult yet ultimately heart-warming experiences.
- We’ll be tweeting from our national Twitter and Instagram accounts, so please like and share by searching for #CarersWeek.