Service being rolled out

CARERS in Cambridgeshire have benefited from a new innovative service which enables them to get help and support through Crossroads Care Cambridgeshire.

The service was initially piloted by 16 GP practices in Cambridgeshire - and is the first of its kind in the country. The main feature of the scheme is that through the provision of a GP prescription, carers can directly access services that they need to help and support them. Already 200 carers were supported across 16 practices in Cambridgeshire, during the pilot phase of the project. The service is now being rolled out to all practices in Cambridgeshire.

Along with work developed by Cambridgeshire County Council,the pilot scheme has been commended by the Parliamentary Standing Commission on Carers as an example of good practice. The Parliamentary Standing Committee have said that the service has shown that it can maintain carer’s health and wellbeing and that it could be considered , nationally, by the new groups of GPs who are taking over the buying of health services from primary care trusts in the future.

The scheme has been praised by carers and professionals for its flexibility and responsiveness. It was also featured as a best practice example on the Department of Health funded Carers Hub website and is recommended for national implementation in “ Age of Opportunity” (2011), a national publication produced by the Commission for Social Justice

Richard O’Driscoll, Head of Older People’s Services at NHS Cambridgeshire said: “The health and wellbeing of carers can be overlooked. We know that carers often look to their GP for help and support. The scheme was developed following consultation with carers and GPs, and as consequence it was shaped with ease of access in mind.

We are delighted that the Carers Prescription Service has been so successful so far - and has been able to help so many carers already. We are pleased that we are able to open up the scheme across Cambridgeshire for all carers to benefit from in the future.”

Cambridgeshire County Council Cabinet Member for Adult Services, Councillor Martin Curtis, said: “Carers are the hidden heroes of our communities and there are many hundreds of people across the county working tirelessly to support loved ones, relatives or friends.

“They are often unsung, but never underestimated and the value of their contribution is priceless. Informal carers are held in great respect throughout Cambridgeshire and the County Council already provides a range of services to help and assist and this excellent new initiative will build on the much good work which is already going on and promote easier access to services and support.”

Dr Helen Brown, CEO of Crossroads Care Cambridgeshire said: “We’re delighted to have been involved in the design and delivery of such an innovative scheme. Many people fail to recognise themselves as carers or acknowledge that they need help until they reach a crisis. Increasing the awareness and support available through GP surgeries will help immensely.”