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An event to mark the launch of a new Carer Ward Accreditation Scheme in Wiltshire was held on Thursday 10 June at Chippenham Community Hospital.

The scheme was launched in all three of Wiltshire’s in-patient community hospitals Chippenham, Warminster and Savernake and will ensure unpaid carers are better identified, consulted and supported while their loved one is in hospital and when they are discharged.

Wiltshire Health and Care which manages the community hospital inpatient wards and Carer Support Wiltshire are working in partnership on the scheme, the central purpose of which is to develop quality markers for carer-friendly hospital wards in order to reduce carer breakdown and improve the health and wellbeing of carers of all ages.

Jackie Maton, Health and Community Engagement Officer at Carer Support Wiltshire said:

“Carers play a key role in providing support for a loved one who has needed to be hospitalised and are usually the expert on that person’s care. A carer can enable and facilitate earlier patient discharge from hospital and helping to prevent re-admission.

“It is in everyone’s interests to make sure that carers are communicated with and consulted at every stage. We know that if a carer feels confident when they take on caring for a loved one, their health and wellbeing is promoted and there is less risk of carer crisis and family breakdown. We are thrilled to be launching this scheme at Chippenham Hospital and look forward to seeing how it benefits the many thousands of unpaid carers there are in Wiltshire.”

Douglas Blair, Managing Director of Wiltshire Health and Care said: “I’m delighted that together with Carer Support Wiltshire we have been able to launch this scheme across all our community hospitals. Carers play a vital role in a patients’ journey and we want them to feel empowered, supported and confident that their voice is being heard. Well done to everyone involved.”

The NHS Five Year Forward View recognises the critical role carers play, pledging more support for carers as well as highlighting their huge contribution to the NHS, stating: “The five and a half million carers in England make a critical and underappreciated contribution not only to loved ones, neighbours and friends, but to the very sustainability of the NHS itself”.