What carers can expect from their GP practice

An estimated 10% of a practice population are carers, so make sure you tell your GP that you are an unpaid Carer, so that they can put the appropriate ‘flag’ on your patient record. You can also ask us for a ‘Carer’s Card’ to show you are a Carer, and then you can expect the following reasonable adjustments:

Making an appointment

  • Your practice should see from your patient record that you are a Carer and be more flexible with appointments, like asking you if you have cover for your cared for person while you are at your appointment, or will you have to bring them to the appointment?

In the Reception area

  • There should be a poster displayed in a prominent place in reception with the name of the member of staff in the Practice who is there to help carers with any issues they may have.
  • There should also be a Reading & West Berks Carers Partnership poster displayed so Carers know who to contact for help in the community.
  • The Practice electronic patient information screen should include a screen about the Reading & West Berks Carer’s Partnership.

Why your GP needs to know that you are a Carer

  • If you tell your GP you are a Carer they will set a flag on your patient record so they know to make reasonable adjustments for you when you come to the Practice.
  • If your GP knows you are a Carer they can take this into consideration when you consult them and consider whether your caring role is impacting any health conditions you are consulting them about.
  • If you have an Emergency Plan we can give you a letter for your GP so that they can flag this up on your patient record, which means that Emergency Services can see that you are a Carer and have an Emergency Plan if you are ever unable to continue to provide care.
  • If your GP ever has to refer you to secondary care they should ask what effect your absence will have on your cared for person and give you helpful advice about how to get replacement care if needed.

Taking your cared for person to an appointment

  • Your GP should listen to and consider your views when they are planning treatment, care and support for the cared-for person.
  • If you care for someone with sensory needs your Practice should provide you with a quiet area while you wait, if required.

The extras

  • You will get preference for COVID Boosters and Flu vaccinations
  • If your GP has a newsletter or Practice Bulletin they may include a section for Carers and why you need to tell them you are a Carer.

What does a carer-friendly GP practice look like?

Tips to consider for GP practices

Participation by GP practices is voluntary but recognised as good practice

Who is a Carer?

"A carer is anyone, including children and adults, who looks after a family member, partner or friend who needs help because of their illness, frailty, disability, mental health problem or addiction and cannot cope without their support. The care they give is unpaid.”

  • Your practice could display a poster with information regarding who carers should contact in the practice with any carers’ issues they may have.
  • Ask patients if they ‘look after someone’ instead of asking them if they are ‘a carer’ because carers don’t always identify with this label.
  • Your practice could include a section about carers in your practice newsletter or bulletin encouraging carers to make themselves known to the practice.
  • Your practice could display a poster from the Reading & West Berks Carers Partnership https://carerspartnership.org.uk so that carers know who to contact for help: Contact: communications@readingmencap.org.uk for a poster.
  • Your practice could consider if you can be more flexible with appointments for carers. Do they have cover for their cared for person while they are at their appointment, or will they have to bring them to the appointment?
  • A holistic approach is helpful for carers accompanying a cared for person to an appointment.
  • It is helpful to consider the views of carers when planning care, treatment and support for the cared-for person.
  • Spread the word – Share the message with as many people as possible that you are a ‘Carer-Friendly’ practice, as often as you can – on your website, newsletter, practice booklet.
  • Have conversations between practices to share best practice.
  • When referring carers to secondary care, does the practice ask what implications this could have for the person being cared for?
  • Ensure carers are appropriately coded so they can be identified for further support. Ensure all staff are aware of these codes.
  • If a carer has a registered emergency/contingency plan covering situations when they are unable to continue providing care, ensure that the practice uses the appropriate code to indicate the existence of the plan on the carer’s patient record.
  • If your surgery has an Electronic Patient Information Screen, please contact The Reading & West Berks Carers Service for a slide you can use to inform carers about how to get help. Contact: communications@readingmencap.org.uk to ask for a slide.

Page last reviewed: 31/01/2024

Contact the Team

Family Information Service

fis@reading.gov.uk 0118 937 3777 OPTION 2 0118 937 3777 OPTION 2

SEND Local Offer

localoffer@reading.gov.uk 0118 937 3777 OPTION 2 0118 937 3777 OPTION 2

Adult & Carers Support

CSAAdvice.Signposting@reading.gov.uk 0118 937 3747 0118 937 3747
Skip back to top of page