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Carers' Champions in Surgeries: evaluation report

The Somerset LINk has completed an evaluation of the Carers' Champion scheme, which saw over 80% of surgeries across Somerset committing to having a Carers' Champion in place over the course of the last year. You can read the Recommendations from the report below, or download the final report.

 

How did the Carers' Champion scheme start? A bit of background...

WyvernHealth.Com in partnership with Carers UK, St. John Ambulance, Somerset County Council, the Somerset Local Involvement Network and a lay carers’ representative have coordinated a Carers’ Champion scheme in GP practices across Somerset.

Surgeries were asked to choose a Carers' Champion from their (ideally) front-desk staff. The Carers' Champion would take on the role in addition to their usual daily tasks. The main tasks were:

  • To be a contact point for carers in the surgery;
  • To maintain a Carers' notice board in the surgery;
  • To champion carers' issues in the practice; and
  • To encourage carers to register on their practice's Carers' Register.

The Somerset Carers’ Champion project was a pilot project funded by Carers’ UK and ran from April 2010 until April 2011.

88% of practices across Somerset participated in the Carers’ Champion scheme, and 82% have a Carers’ Champion as a result of the scheme.

The scheme was evaluated in May 2011 by the Somerset LINk. 

What did the evaluation show?

Some key findings of the evaluation were as follows:

  • Surgeries with Carers’ Champions increased the number of carers on their Carers’ Register by an average of 56% over one year;
  • 90% of Carers’ Champions that had received feedback from patients had received positive feedback.
  • 91% of participating surgeries have a Carers’ Noticeboard;
  • 96% of Carers’ Champions have been able to give carers relevant information;
  • 89% of Carers’ Champions have enjoyed the role;
  • 90% of Carers’ Champions that had received feedback from staff had received positive feedback.

You can read the Recommendations from the report below, or download the final report.

This report explains how the Somerset Carers’ Champion project was carried out and the results of the evaluation of the project. It recommends that funding is sought for the scheme to continue, through the support of Carers’ Champions via a monthly newsletter and occasional workshops, or if possible, through a longer-term commissioning plan.

Recommendations

This evaluation clearly demonstrates that the pilot project was a success.

The scheme has continued over the last year due to short-term funding for a pilot project by Carers' UK, and the commitment of seven staff and volunteers from different organisations and carers' groups across Somerset. Without continued funding to build on the success of this pilot scheme, the roles are unlikely to continue and the benefits of the scheme will be lost.

  1. Sustainable funding for the project should be planned as a matter of urgency: in particular, for the monthly e-newsletter and for occasional workshops for Carers' Champions (and for new Carers' Champions). Funding should cover appropriate hours for the Carers' Champions to undertake their work, so that the role is properly sustainable and does not impinge on existing work. Carers' Champions need overall coordination and support if this scheme is to continue. A long-term commissioning plan should be developed in order to ensure the sustainability of the scheme.
  2. A dedicated Carers' Champion Co-ordinator role should be put in place: ideally within the GP Commissioning Consortia but it is also possible that this could be within the local authority. Alternatively, the role of coordinating this scheme should be formally included in the job description of an existing member of staff.
  3. Local community access to carer support and information should be commissioned via the Carers' Champion model: Some of the tasks that the Carers' Champions are taking on were previously carried out by a Carers' Support Worker, particularly in surgeries where the Carers' Support Worker role is no longer based due to cutbacks. This demonstrates that this gap in existing provision could be addressed by the ongoing funding for the Carers' Champion scheme. Carers Champions should continue to be funded to meet the need for local community access to carer support which was a need strongly identified in the Peter Fletcher Carers' Services Appraisal report 2010.

 

The benefits of increasing the number of registered carers:
Continued support for Carers' Champions will ensure that carers' register numbers continue to increase. This will enable carers' provision to be better improved and more intelligently targeted - for example, ensuring that carers have access to information and advice, ensuring that carers' receive healthchecks and 'flu vaccinations and increasing awareness of carers' needs among GPs and within surgeries.

 

For more information

For more information, or if you would like us to send you a printed copy of our report, please email Lucy at the Somerset LINk office on lucy.nicholls@helpandcare.org.uk.

 

Somerset