Register with your GP
The NHS is keen to support carers and all Derbyshire GP surgeries should have a register of patients who are carers.
Although more than 118,000 people in Derbyshire (including Derby City) who care for others, many are not known by their GP. Some carers suffer ill health as a result of their caring responsibilities so it is important that you let your GP know that you are looking after someone.
GPs can be a valuable source of support. They have a good knowledge of local services and support organisations and can give you contact details or make a referral for you.
If you don't think you're already registered as a carer you can ask your GP practice receptionist to put you on their Carer Register - you can use this form to give the surgery the information they need.
What are the benefits?
Some GP practices have arrangements in place for carers and will do their best to offer you an appointment at a time convenient to you.
If they know you're a carer your practice should contact you about flu jabs and any other services relevant to you as a carer.
Your GP will also know to keep an eye on your own health and wellbeing.
You'll have someone you can speak to in confidence about how you're feeling.
In some surgeries registering as a carer may also give you access to help such as assistance with parking, although it depends on the individual surgery. But don't be afraid to ask!
All patient records are confidential so if you need a GP to discuss information with you about the person you care for, speak to the receptionist to find out what arrangements, if any, your practice has in place, and what you need to do to help make this happen. The information sharing page has more details about this.
If you register as a carer you should be provided with an information pack which will direct you to carers support services across the county.
You'll get information and advice on healthy eating, exercise and access to programs such as health walks.
Registering also gives you the opportunity to update the details the surgery hold about you and the person you care for, including next of kin, contingency plans and emergency contact details.
Other things to think about
If the person you care for is also a patient at the same practice as you, ask the reception staff to make sure both your patient records have details of your carer/cared-for relationship.
If the person you look after is at a different practice, you may also want to think about letting their practice know that you are their carer and make sure they have your details. You may also want to discuss information sharing procedures with the practice for future reference.
Communication is key. Be open with health and social care professionals about the impact your caring role has on you. The more they know, the better they can support you.
Some surgeries have information about how they support carers on their website. Just visit your practice's site and search for 'carers'.
Derbyshire Carers Association are working with GP surgeries to help them support carers. To see if any services are available (or planned) at your practice contact DCA on tel: 01773 833833.
Nationally the NHS are keen to support carers and have a dedicated helpline for carers called Carers Direct on tel: 0300 123 1053 or visit the NHS Choices website where you'll be able to access the Carers Direct web chat service.
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