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GP practices in Wiltshire went platinum at the recent Carer Support Wiltshire Investors in Carers GP Accreditation Scheme Awards.

The awards recognise and celebrate those Wiltshire GP practices who have gone above and beyond for unpaid carers. This year saw 17 practices receiving platinum awards.

The new platinum level was introduced in response to the outstanding support to carers provided by many GP Practices in Wiltshire.

The scheme, funded by Wiltshire Council and the NHS Wiltshire Clinical Commissioning Group aims to raise awareness of carers’ issues in GP practices and provide a system of awards to recognise their support to carers.

To achieve an award, practices needs to meet more than a dozen requirements that include maintaining an up-to-date carer’s register, have a carer’s lead, provide flexible appointments for carers and hold a minimum of one carer’s clinic per year. The clinics are run in partnership with the CSW Community Connector team.

One of the practices to receive a Platinum award was the Kennet and Avon Medical Partnership. Carers Lead at the practice, Gillian Davies said:

“Holding a Carers register helps us to identify carers. We can then offer flexible appointments and extra support.  Carers Clinics are also held in the practice which offer a one to one time for the carer. The more we can do to raise awareness of carers across the Practice to all members of staff the more we will be able to all understand and support our registered carers.  Being part of the scheme, with the support of our CSW Community Connector, helps us to be able to do this.”

In a recent survey, carers providing more than 50 hours of care per week are twice as likely to report ill-health as those not providing care. Carers providing high levels of care were associated with a 23% higher risk of stroke. According to the Carers UK State of Caring 2017 report, 4 in 10 (40%) carers have not had a break in over one year whilst 1 in 4 (25%) have not received a single day away from caring in five years. Carers who had not had a break in a year or more reported a deterioration in their health, both mentally and physically.

GP Practices continue to be the main source of referrals to CSW and are often the first point for a carer to acknowledge their caring role and access support. A quarter of all carers seen in 2017-2018 were newly identified, up from 17.25% from the previous year.  Holding carer clinics at GP surgeries in rural areas also means carers in isolated locations can access face to face support and information.

The awards were presented by Cllr Ben Anderson and Dr. Richard Sandford-Hill, Chair of Wiltshire Clinical Commissioning Group with guest speakers, Dr. Toby Williams of The Orchard Partnership and CSW Trustee and Dr. Andrew Murrison MP for South West Wiltshire and CSW Patron.

Pictured is Gillian Davies accepting the award for the Kennet and Avon Medical Partnership. Photography courtesy of Stuart Harrison Photography