LETTER: New service to support carers

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Carers living in West Sussex who look after family or friends who are ill or frail will now have access to a new service to help them improve their own health and wellbeing.

There are an estimated six million unpaid carers in the UK and 80,000 are based in West Sussex. Carers provide essential care and support for some of the most vulnerable people in our communities. They often carry out tasks and responsibilities that can compromise the health of both the carer and the cared for and impact on quality of life.

Our Carers Health Team can visit carers in their own home and check their general state of health and wellbeing. They can offer advice about how to keep healthy and how to manage any health issues.

Wilma Thomas, Carers Health Team manager at Sussex Community NHS Trust, said: “Caring is a hugely important role that many people take on every day. Carers don’t receive training and much of their daily routine is focused on the person they care for, rather than themselves. Many carers report a decline in health since becoming a carer and some might not even have time to visit their GP for a check-up.

“Our new service means we can support carers in their own home and give them practical advice and support about everything from safe moving and handling techniques to managing medication and eating healthily. Long-term we hope that this support will also benefit the person being cared for.”

Peter Catchpole, West Sussex County Council’s Cabinet member for Adult Social Care and Health, said: “Carers perform a vital role so looking after the needs of carers is a key priority for the County Council with the growing needs of an ageing population.

“We know that carers do this because they love their nearest and dearest, and we want to ensure that we provide as much help and support to them in their responsibilities to help and support them in their vital role.

“In West Sussex the most recent figures estimate there are 84,000 unpaid carers, saving West Sussex an estimated £1 billion a year.”

This new service, available to all carers aged over 18 across West Sussex, is staffed by trained health professionals who work closely with other NHS specialist services and ensure health screening and where appropriate access to NHS health checks are available for all.

See our Carers Health Team page on our website www.sussexcommunity.nhs.uk/for more information.


Sussex Community NHS Trust,

Brighton General Hospital, Elm Grove, Brighton BN2 3EW