Thursday 18 October 2018
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RCGP launches innovative programme to support carers

The Royal College of General Practitioners has launched a new educational programme to help GPs and primary care teams better support carers


Launched by Minister of State for Care Services Paul Burstow, the RCGP Supporting Carers in General Practice educational programme has been developed to help primary care professionals support the growing number of people who care for others. It has been created by the RCGP, in partnership with the Department of Health, The Princess Royal Trust for Carers and with support from The Children's Society.


The programme consists of a comprehensive package of e-learning, printed publications, and workshops. The free-to-access e-learning resource has been developed in partnership with the Department of Health’s e-Learning for Healthcare, and will be aimed primarily at GPs, GP trainees and other health workers in primary care teams. It will also be available via several different online platforms to non-medical staff working in secondary care, management staff, social care workers and other clinicians working in the community.


The e-learning sessions include information about the valuable part that carers of all ages have to play in supporting some of the most vulnerable people in society, and the ways in which GPs and their teams can organise their practices and work with carers to achieve this.


The sessions also incorporate information about carers’ own health and information needs, the difficulties that they face in addressing these, and possible ways in which the primary care team might help.



An interactive action guide for practices is also being updated by The Princess Royal Trust for Carers and the RCGP, and will be published in late summer 2011.

Minister of State for Care Services Paul Burstow said:

"I want every carer to get the support and help they need. To achieve this we need to make sure we are identifying all those with caring responsibilities at an early stage.


“Because most people visit their GP surgery from time to time, we know that primary care can play a crucial role with this. I hope this educational programme will support healthcare staff in both identifying and supporting the carers within their community.”


Professor Nigel Sparrow, Chair of RCGP Professional Development Board and member of the Standing Commission on Carers said:

“We estimate that there are one in ten patients in every practice who care for a relative or friend who is sick, disabled, or frail. Carers have been found to often neglect their own healthcare needs for several reasons and in many cases it is only a matter of time before they become ill.


“GPs play a vital role in encouraging carers to look after their own health, as well as providing support to help them in their caring role. There are already many examples of GP surgeries doing fantastic work but this excellent new resource will enable us to widen this even further and  ensure that GPs across the country are well equipped to support those who are carrying out such an important – but often unnoticed and often undervalued – role.”


Dr Ben Riley, GP and Clinical Lead for Supporting Carers in General Practice said:

“The Supporting Carers in General Practice e-learning programme will give GPs the knowledge they need to support carers at three levels; by enhancing the one-to-one support we offer carers in our consultations, by improving the care we provide through our practice teams, and by designing more carer-focussed services in our local commissioning groups."

Moira Fraser, Director of Policy at The Princess Royal Trust for Carers said:

“Primary care is one of the few services that almost all carers access – either for their own health or while looking after the person they care for. GPs play a crucial role in identifying carers and ensuring they receive the right support so that they can stay healthy, have a life of their own and continue caring. These e-modules are an important addition to the resources available to GPs to help them support carers better and we’re delighted to have been part of the project.”

Bob Reitemeier, Chief Executive of The Children’s Society, said:

“The Children's Society is delighted to be part of this initiative. Young carers have been telling us for a long time that they want their GP to be more understanding of what they go through. Often, a GP is the first person a young carer will turn to when they need help. This new educational programme will give health care professionals the tools they need to support young carers.”