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The value of unpaid carers in Wiltshire has been recognised with the signing of the carers Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) by the Wiltshire Health and Wellbeing Board.

The MoU was developed by NHS England to promote working together between health and social care commissioners and providers including Third Sector organisations that support carers. Adapted to meet local needs, Wiltshire-based charity Carer Support Wiltshire has been instrumental in pushing it to the top of the agenda for unpaid carers here.

“By signing this Memorandum, the signatories are making a clear commitment to supporting unpaid carers across Wiltshire. They are acknowledging the value that unpaid carers provide to the health and social care system and signalling an agreement to work together to continue improving the support each can provide for carers. This is a powerful statement of intent,” said Catharine Hurford, Chief Executive of Carer Support Wiltshire.

Over 47,000 people look after a loved one in the county, saving the local economy approximately £961 million a year.

By signing the MoU members of the Board placed on record its thanks and commitment to recognise and support carers according to its principles.

The Principles of the Carers’ Memorandum are:

Principle 1: Carers will receive an integrated package of support in order to maintain their physical health and emotional well-being

Principle 2: Carers are supported and empowered to manage their caring role and their life outside of caring

Principle 3: All health and social care staff will be aware of the needs of carers and of referral routes to access local support. NHS staff will recognise signs of distress and diminished capacity that may affect the ability or willingness of carers to continue caring, so that they can ask the carer if they are in need of support. NHS staff will also be aware of local carer support organisations so that the carer can be sign-posted.

Principle 4: Carers will be supported by the improved sharing of information between health, social care, education professionals and carer support organisations.

Principle 5: Carers will be respected as expert care partners and will be involved in the planning of care for the cared for, including being involved in shared decision-making, and in the planning and redesign of services.

Principle 6: The needs of vulnerable carers, particularly those at key transition points, will be identified early.

Representatives from the following organisations have signed the MoU:

  • Carer Support Wiltshire
  • Wiltshire Council
  • NHS Wiltshire Clinical Commissioning Group
  • Salisbury Hospital Foundation Trust
  • Bath Royal United Hospital
  • Great Western Hospital
  • South West Ambulance Service
  • NHS Foundation Trust
  • Avon and Wiltshire Mental Health Partnership
  • Healthwatch Wiltshire

Pictured: Front left to right: Dr Peter Jenkins, Chair, Wilts CCG, Cara Charles-Barks, Chief Exec, Salisbury Foundation Trust, Baroness Scott OBE, Wiltshire Council leader. Back left to right: James Scott, Chief Exec, RUH, Chris Graves, Chair, Healthwatch Wiltshire, Catherine Hurford, Chief Executive, Care Support Wiltshire