Healthcare scheme boost for carers

PUBLISHED: 02:01 23 June 2008 | UPDATED: 09:10 10 June 2010

PILOT healthcare schemes at two Exmouth practices will help Devon celebrate National Carers' Week and a £200,000 investment in carers' own needs. The Department of Health-funded package sees emphasis put onto supporting carers' health needs via recognitio

PILOT healthcare schemes at two Exmouth practices will help Devon celebrate National Carers' Week and a £200,000 investment in carers' own needs.The Department of Health-funded package sees emphasis put onto supporting carers' health needs via recognition at GP practises.Improved communication between services and carers themselves, plus special extras such as foot care treatments will help smooth the way for hard-working carers in employment and the voluntary sector.Littleham's very own 'star' carer - national care award-winner Dee Wreford - has welcomed the news."As a carer you do have to keep an eye on your health, said Mrs Wreford, 51, of Berry Close. "You have to watch your back, and you're on your feet all day long. It can be easy to forget about yourself."It would be good to get a bit of pampering. And if they are going to be handing out more information to carers that is brilliant. "Some people are not even aware of things like Carers Link, and communication has been an issue sometimes."Now Devon County Council, the NHS and voluntary care organisations have announced a new Carers Strategy, featuring the pilot 'Carers GP' project.The project will be co-ordinated by Westbank of Exeter, on behalf of the County Council. Westbank chief executive Mary Nisbett said: "Many carers will have regular contact with health services in regards to the health of the person that they care for, but may neglect their own signs and symptoms of ill-health."The scheme, to run at Exmouth's Rolle and Imperial medical practices, aims to improve the identification and access to support for carers.Project supervisor Denise Rendell said: "Some practices have protocols in place to identify carers. The aim of this project is to build on this good work and expand it to other areas in Devon."Also under development are emergency cards for carers, designed to inform others that a card-holder who may be in trouble has someone relying on them for help. Further project strands offer foot care, community mentoring to help isolated people back into society, and care teams in specific patch areas.The County Council hope the strategy, to be evaluated in 2009, will boost interaction with Devon's estimated 73,000 carers.

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