A three-year plan is launched today to improve support for the growing number of carers in Surrey and make a positive difference to their lives.
Surrey Heartlands Health and Care Partnership, which includes Surrey County Council and other partners, has worked alongside Frimley Clinical Commissioning Group to publish a new carers’ strategy which pledges a commitment to improve and develop services to better support unpaid carers.
Unpaid carers, who hold families together, carry out a vitally important role. The Surrey Carers Strategy 2021-2024 sets out values and priorities for the next three years, reaffirming the commitment and determination to help carers continue caring if they are willing and able, and to support their health and wellbeing by achieving outcomes they have identified that matter most to them.
People may not see themselves as carers, rather seeing caring as an extension of their family role: daughters, sons, or partners, for example, doing what families and friends do. Making sure carers are identified, recognised, respected as partners in care, and offered advice and support if needed at the earliest opportunity is at the centre of the strategy.
There are currently approximately 115,000 carers in the county although it’s thought that more people have taken on caring roles due to the pandemic. The strategy reflects the county’s vision to support all carers to live well, with some priorities including:
- Making it easier for carers to access and navigate services, such as health and social care
- Promoting carers’ rights, by offering a range of materials, communications, and training to ensure understanding of the support carers are entitled to and how this can be accessed
- Increasing visibility of carers, helping people to recognise their caring role, and using a whole family approach to make sure that assessments and services are co-ordinated to support the whole family
- Introducing carer passports to support carers to identify themselves and be recognised more easily, enabling access to information, support and/or services
- Making sure that carers are able to express their views, share their experiences, and have their voices heard through an independent route
- Working with employers to raise awareness and deliver training to better support staff with caring responsibilities.
Sinead Mooney, Surrey County Council Cabinet Member for Adults and Health said: “In Surrey we have always supported carers, but it’s time to push this further and really recognise the vital round the clock care our unpaid carers continue to do day on day. I am delighted we are committing ourselves to identify and recognise these heroes at the earliest opportunity and support them in the community.”
Dr Claire Fuller, Senior Responsible Officer for Surrey Heartlands Integrated Care System said: “We want to do everything we can to support carers and enable them to live well. The Carers Strategy 2021-2024 presents an opportunity to reset our carers agenda in Surrey, reaffirm our recognition of the vitally important role that carers provide and make specific commitments about how we will ensure that support for carers is continually developed and improved.”