Barbara Keeley MP


Barbara supports call for health checks for Carers

news75Barbara has applauded the launch of a new campaign ‘Carers Want Health Checks’ which was unveiled recently as part of this year’s Carers Week.

One in ten adults in Worsley provide unpaid help and support to a relative or friend who is either frail, sick or disabled. A major national survey of over 5,600 Carers has shown that more than three quarters (79%) of carers say that their health has been affected by caring, with stress and depression being amongst the most common complaints.

Almost as many (71%) say that health problems affect their ability to care. Only one in four carers (27%) have been offered a health check by their GP, but the survey revealed that nine out of 10 believe that all carers should be offered a health check.

Acting on the results of this study – the largest ever in the UK - the eight national charities that make up the Carers Week partnership are calling on the NHS to introduce health checks within 12 months of someone becoming a carer, and regularly thereafter.

Barbara has been working in Parliament to support policy change on the issue of the health of Carers. Her Bill on the Identification and Support of Carers (Primary Health Care) Bill, calls on GPs or Primary Care Trusts to identify those patients who are carers and to ensure that they receive the necessary support and advice, and access to appropriate healthcare.

The Bill has received cross-party support, as well as enthusiastic backing from major carers groups, including Carers UK and the Princess Royal Trust for Carers, who have a carers centre in Salford.

Introducing the Bill into Parliament, Barbara said:

“One million carers care for more than 50 hours a week, which is more than a full-time job. Carers can find it difficult to make an appointment with a GP for their own health needs, as they are restricted in the times that they can attend and must often make alternative care arrangements.

“My Bill would require that primary care services take carers’ needs into account in making medical appointments, issuing prescriptions and making suitable arrangements in the waiting room.”

Barbara added:

We know from the recent survey and other work done with carers that caring can have a big impact on the health of carers. It would really help if GPs and their staff routinely identify patients who are carers and then offer them health checks and refer them for advice and support.”

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