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We are interested in identifying carers, especially those people who may be caring without help or support.  We know that carers are often “hidden” looking after a family member or helping a friend or neighbour with day to day tasks and may not see themselves as a carer.


Caring for someone is an important and valuable role in the community, which is often a 24-hour job that can be very demanding and isolating for the carer.  Carers should receive appropriate support by way of access to accurate information on a range of topics such as entitlement to benefits and respite care and not least, a listening ear when things get too much.


As a Carer, you are also entitled to have your needs assessed by Adult Care Services.  A Carer’s Assessment is a chance to talk about your needs as a carer and the possible ways help could be given. It also look at the needs of the person you care for. There is no charge for an assessment.


If you are a carer, please download or ask at Reception for a


Carers Identification and Referral Form

which you can complete to let us know about your caring responsibilities




The following protocol sets out the mechanisms the Practice has in place for identifying carers and ensuring that they are referred appropriately to Adult Care Services for a Carers Assessment.


Definition of a Carer


Individuals irrespective of age, who provide or supervise a substantial amount of care on a regular basis of a child, relative, partner or neighbour who is unable to manage on their own due to illness, disability, frailty, mental distress or impairment.


The term “carer” would not normally apply if the person is:

  • a paid carer
  • a volunteer from a voluntary agency
  • anyone providing personal assistance for payment either in cash or kind


A carer can be a child looking after an older person or parent, or an older person looking after a disabled partner. The definition may be quite wide-ranging.


The person being cared for may, or may not be, registered at the Carer’s practice.

Where the person being cared for is registered elsewhere the practice will not be able to identify routinely where this relationship has ceased. Periodically, the Carer may be asked to re-confirm his / her status. Where the person being cared for is a registered patient, the relationship can be re-affirmed more often, and major events just as death or de-registration may initiate a change of status from practice-held information.



Research shows that for every 1000 patients, 120 will be carers. It has also been estimated that 1 in 5 households in the UK may contain a carer.


This protocol aims to ensure that all carers registered with the Practice are identified and referred to Adult Care Services. Basic rights for carers are contained in the Carers (Recognition and Services) Act 1995 (not in Scotland), and this places duties (mainly) on local authorities to assess and support carers. In Northern Ireland carers rights are set out in the Carers and Disabled Children Act. In Scotland rights are included in other statutes such as the Community Care and Health (Scotland) Act. GP practices may facilitate this process by active identification and support / referral of carers who are their own patients and / or where a carer cares for a practice patient.


The practice will seek to support carers by:

  • Providing information and local authority resources and contact points 
  • Supporting carers with suitable appointment flexibility and understanding
  • Care for the carer to enable them to maximise their own health and needs by providing health checks and advice


There are two methods of identification – self identification and Practice identification and the Practice has put in place mechanisms for both of these.





Notice boards

The Practice has a dedicated notice board for carers which has details of support organisations and Adult Care Services. It contains a poster asking carers to let the Practice know about their caring responsibilities.




The Practice displays a poster on existing notice boards asking carers to let the Practice know about their caring responsibilities.  During seasonal times e.g. Flu clinics, higher profile is given to information for carers and a notice board is dedicated to this information at this time.




A note is included on repeat prescriptions asking patients to complete a Carers Referral form, kept on reception.

Self Referral forms

Referral forms, which are sent to Carers and Adult Care Services, are displayed in reception to allow carers to complete and hand in to the Practice.


New Patient Registration Forms

The Practice’s new patient registration form asks the two questions ‘do you look after someone?’, ‘does someone look after you?’.  This information will be used in the new patient screening appointment to tag the patient’s notes and arrange referral to Care Services.








Letter and questionnaire to patients

If the Practice writes to a patient, perhaps as part of the flu vaccination campaign, they may be asked to complete a referral form if they are a carer. This may be part of the procedure for Disability Allowance forms.


Anyone collecting a prescription on behalf of someone else may be passed a Carers referral form.

Health Professional identification

All Health Professionals in the surgery complete referral forms when they ascertain a patient is a carer. May be part of a regular discussion at multi-disciplinary team meetings to exploit personal knowledge.




All carer registrations will, in the first instance, be reviewed by the patient’s usual doctor who will confirm that the patient is competent to give a valid informed consent.


Process for subsequent referral

A box for referral forms will be placed at reception for patients, health professionals and staff to post forms.  This box will be routinely emptied and the following read codes will be used to tag carers notes:


Carer                                         918A

Has a Carer                                918F

No able carer in household          ZV604

Carer unable to cope           ZV608

Carer referred for assessment      EMISQCA6 (please note that this is an EMIA code and other systems will have different ones)







BMA - Working with carers: guidelines for good practice

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