Ahead of Carers Rights Day on 26 November, local councils, NHS services and other health and care organisations who deliver integrated care across the county, are working in partnership to recognise, support and value local unpaid carers of all ages.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, unpaid carers are under increased pressure – a survey by Carers UK has revealed.

Many are providing more care than they have before and some have been unable to take any breaks in the last six months as the needs of the person they care for have increased.

Carer Support Dorset, and other local councils and health and care partners across the county are joining together to empower carers to know their rights, whether in a hospital setting, their community or within the workplace.

Tracy Rowland, Programme Lead from Dorset Clinical Commissioning Group said: “We have listened to local unpaid carers concerns and are responding to the needs of as many as possible. We also know that there are more carers in Dorset providing an increased level of care than before the first lockdown began and inevitably this impacts their physical and mental health, plus general wellbeing.

“All unpaid carers have rights and during these unprecedented times it’s more important than ever that they are aware of the support available to them. All health and care organisations, as part of Our Dorset, are here to provide services that can help with the increased challenges they are facing. Please do not hesitate to get the support needed.”

Unpaid carers can be people who look after a relative, partner, friend, or neighbour. All have the right to:

  • A break
  • Have a Care Act Carers Assessment to determine whether additional support is available
  • Register with their GP practice to enable them to access health checks and free flu jabs
  • Flexible working arrangements and additional support at work if they juggle their caring responsibilities with employment.

Mark Topp, a Dorset carer, said: “The services and support provided by health and care organisations in Dorset has made a real difference to me, enabling me to enjoy other aspects of my life such as taking up hobbies when I’m not caring.”

If you or someone you know is a carer please encourage them to seek the support they deserve.

Carers can contact the following organisations who can provide information, advice and guidance:

For Bournemouth, Christchurch, Poole Council area: CRISP 01202 458204 www.crispweb.org/

For Dorset Council area: Carer Support Dorset 0800 368 8349 www.carersupportdorset.co.uk