GPs and Health Care Staff

A carer is someone who looks after a family member, partner or friend in need of help because they are ill, frail or have a disability and the care they provide is unpaid. There are an estimated 35,697 carers living in Northumberland.

Carers can have a very challenging, often isolating lifestyle, with little recognition or financial reward.

GP’s practice nurses and reception staff will have contact with a lot of patients who are carers but most surgeries have less than 3% registered with the practice.

Many carers don’t recognise themselves as being a carer. They may just see themselves as just a mum, dad, husband, wife, partner, brother, sister or friend helping another friend or relative when they are unable to do things for themselves. As a result, they often don’t know what support is available.

The pressures of caring can have a damaging effect on health and wellbeing as carers often put the needs of the person for whom they care above their own health needs.

 The majority of carers will have contact with GPs, either for their own health or for the health of the person they are caring for. It is important to support carers and health staff play a significant role in ensuring that carers have access to information and support.

The easiest way to do this is by encouraging all staff to identify which patients are carers, registering them with the practice and giving them information about the support Carers Northumberland can offer.

An information point for carers is a simple but effective way to reach carers in your practice.

We can provide information and materials for your surgery.

In addition we can offer Carer Awareness training for all staff to help them to understand the pressures carers face.

Further information  please contact us on  01670 320025 or email

If you would like to refer a carer please use the below form, this can be emailed to our secure NHS email address

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Carers Assessments

A Carers Assessment is a discussion about how your caring role affects you in your day-to-day life and the things you need help with. It is not a test of your ability to care, which is why in Northumberland it is often referred to as a ‘carer’s needs assessment’. It will help you think about the things that will make it easier for you to continue to provide care. It will help you consider the things you manage well and identify the caring tasks you struggle with. It’s also a chance to discuss your own needs, for example your health; how caring is affecting close relationships; other commitments like work, education or caring for more than one person.

Your Carers Assessment will normally be carried out by the Care Manager who assessed the person you care for. If you don’t have a Care Manager, contact your local Adult Care Team (Social Services) and they will arrange your Assessment, even if the person you care for doesn’t want involvement with Social Services.

The Care Manager will point you to sources of support and information, and may arrange services to help you or the person you care for (there will usually be charges for these). A Support Plan, either for you yourself or jointly with the person you care for, will set out the outcomes agreed from your Assessment.

Your Assessment should be reviewed every year, and when circumstances change.

The Northumberland Family and Friends Carers Guide can help you prepare for an Assessment, or you might like to use the Carers Wellbeing Check ask your Carer Support Worker for a copy of the Check, or ring the Information Line to request one (01670 320025).”

Carers Emergency Card

The Carers Emergency Card is available to carers registered with Carers Northumberland, and offers peace of mind that, should something unexpected happen to prevent you being with the person you care for, temporary support can be put in place until longer term arrangements are possible.

By deciding in advance what you and the person you care for would like to happen, you can ensure a speedy response if you’re taken ill, the car breaks down or something else gets in the way of you being there when you need to be.

Carers Northumberland works with the British Red Cross to administer this free card. Download the information and application form today, and register with Carers Northumberland if you haven’t already.

Carers Support Fund

Research has shown that regular access to short breaks can help carers continue to provide care for longer, offering time to themselves and the opportunity to recharge their batteries.

Recognising that family finances can often make it difficult for carers to do this, Northumbria Healthcare NHS Trust – Adult Services makes money available from the Carers Grant to be paid directly to adult carers of adults to help them take a break: the Carers Support Fund is available to carers registered with Carers Northumberland.

Accessing the Fund involves completing a short application form, and results in an award of £25-150, depending on the carer’s circumstances. The money must be spent on the carer, but can be used in whatever way offers the best break. Carers have used it to pay for gym memberships, buy hobby equipment, visit friends and much more.

If you would like to apply please call us on 01670 320025

A similar fund exists for young carers under 18.

Meeting Other Carers

Carers Northumberland offers a range of opportunities for carers to meet other carers, locally and countywide, helping you build networks of support and friendship. This includes regular support group meetings and one-off events.


As a carer, you need a wide range of skills to help you in your role. Carers Northumberland works with a number of different specialist organisations to ensure carers have access to training and support to help them develop confidence in their abilities as a carer, and to maintain a life of their own alongside their caring responsibilities.

Speak to your Carer Support Worker about what training you might like.

Registering With Carers Northumberland

Registering with Carers Northumberland is free, and can be done online or by post/phone. Complete and submit/return the registration form (download + online) to be entered onto our database, which will ensure you receive newsletters and other regular mailings about information and events of use to you.

Northumberland Family and Friends Carers Guide

The Northumberland Family and Friends Carers Guide offers useful information to help you think about your life as a carer, and can help you prepare for a Carers Needs Assessment. Copies are available from Carers Northumberland, your Care Manager or GP Practice.

Carer Support Groups

Carers Northumberland has a programme of monthly support group meetings around the county, offering carers the opportunity of a short break from their caring responsibilities and time to meet other carers who understand how caring impacts on their lives. You can find up and coming events in our event calendar.