Our work with carers

Our commitment to carers and their families

A carer is a person - adult or child of any age, who provides unpaid support to a partner, child, relative or friend who couldn't manage to live independently or whose health or wellbeing would deteriorate without this help. This could be due to frailty, disability or serious health condition, mental ill health or substance misuse.

About one in every 10 of the adult population is an unpaid carer, a figure which is on the increase (census, 2011). According to the 2011 Census, there are 18,224 carers in York, but many people who provide care do not recognise themselves as a ‘carer’

NHS Vale of York CCG is committed to hearing the voice of the carer and their families and this is most notable through our engagement work.

On this page you can find out how we are working with carers to improve the quality of care within the Vale of York.


Attendance at carers advisory groups and forums

We regularly attend carers advisory groups (CAG). These groups are run by carers and professionals to represent the needs of carers.

  • CAG – East Riding meets monthly and the CCG attends quarterly
  • CAG York – Meets quarterly

Through our involvement in these groups we are able to hear the voice of the carer and help to influence changes in care. This could range from arranging for key speaker to attend carers meetings, helping to raise awareness of identification of carers in GP practices, to offering training to carers.

In 2018-19 we have led on the following pieces of work with carers through these forums:

  • Understanding the view of carers who use patient transport
  • Raising concerns about the change in continence product provider, and working with the hospital trust to put on focus group and training sessions of the new product.
  • It was a proactive and positive event and the CCG were reassured that issues were being resolved swiftly. Individual cases were looked into. Learning around better communication, and involving the most vulnerable patients carefully in the process was taken from this event.
  • Involvement in developing the City of York’s new Carers’ Strategy
  • Providing training for GP surgeries
  • Supporting GP surgeries to become carer friendly employers


A recent example of how we have acted on feedback received at the carers meetings:

Carers said: At a recent carer advisory group (CAG) meeting in the East Riding area a panel member raised an issue with signposting and information available for carers through their local GP service. They wanted to increase awareness with staff within GP practices about recognising and supporting carers, and promoting local carers’ services available.

We did: We contacted MyHealth practice in Strensall and Stamford Bridge and met with the operations manager to discuss how we could help support carers. The operations manager was very proactive, and began to implement some changes immediately.

Resulting in:

  • Two carers from East Rising CAG delivered a training session to the staff on the life of a carer to increase awareness of the challenges they face.
  • A new carers’ notice board in the surgery, including information about what is available for carers in the East Riding.
  • The surgery is updating website with useful numbers and signposting info for carers.
  • The surgery has offered the meeting room at Stamford Bridge surgery as a free space for carers groups to meet if they need to.

Change in continence products

Carers said: It was recorded that negative feedback was being heard from service users and York Carers Centre (on behalf of local carers) about a recent change in continence products during June 2018. On investigation, York Teaching Hospital NHS Foundation Trust had procured a new supplier. Some service users and carers raised concerns about the quality of the product, which were causing pain and discomfort.

We did: The CCG’s Deputy Chief Nurse liaised with the hospital Trust’s Operational Manager about these issues.

Resulting in: Following this, the CCGs Deputy Chief Nurse, Head of Engagement and Patient Experience Lead attended an event hosted by and held at York Hospital. The event focused on understanding the issues raised by patients and carers, and members of the  continence advisory team and staff from the provider (Hartmann) were available to answer questions and give support. Samples of all like-for-like product types were brought along for patients and carers to view and give assurance that the quality was the same as with the previous supplier.

It was a proactive and positive event and the CCG were reassured that issues were being resolved swiftly. Individual cases were looked into. Learning around better communication, and involving the most vulnerable patients carefully in the process was taken from this event. The feedback at subsequent carers forums has been more positive.

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GP awareness training

Our Head of Engagement regularly attend carers’ strategy meetings and forums. It is through these forums that she asks for feedback. At a York Carers Advisory Group (CAG) meeting run by York Carers Centre, it was suggested that the group would like to increase awareness of carers within GP practices.

It is well documented that carers report worse experiences of accessing and using GP than non-caring patients. Linking in to the health and social care action carers action plan 2018-2020, there is a national move towards ensuring that GP practices are identifying and supporting carers.

We have been working with the local Carer’s Centre to provide free training to healthcare professionals within GP practices.Six training sessions are held a year at the CCG’s headquarters and have been running since 2017. It is an opportunity for professionals to learn more about the support available for unpaid carers across the city. The aim is to Increase understanding of carers, their role and its effect on their lives, and is an opportunity to explore how we as professionals working in the health and social care field can help to: identify carers early; recognise them as ‘partners’ in care; help carers to maintain their own health and wellbeing.

2018/19 Carers awareness training for healthcare staff: NHS Vale of York CCG, Station Rise, York.

  • Monday 26th March 2018, 1:30-4:00
  • Monday 30th April 2018, 1:30-4:00
  • Tuesday 3rd July  2018, 1:30-4:00
  • Monday 8th October  2018, 1:30-4:00
  • Tuesday 5th February 2019, 1:30-4:00

If you would like to attend please email voyccg.engagement@nhs.net or call 01904 555870.

Click here to find out more or book a place.

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Supporting GP practices to become carer friendly employers

Through our connections with the York Carer’s Centre and East Riding Carers Advisory group and the training that we co-host we have been able to connect the centre with GP practices.

In June 2018 one of our largest practices York Medical Group became were awarded the Carer Friendly Employer status. They are the latest employers to implement policies and practices showing their commitment to helping carers among their staff balance their employment and caring roles.

Click here to view the article on page 21

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Training with carers to recognise pressure ulcers and deterioration of family members

NHS Vale of York Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) is committed to supporting carers in providing best care and is participating in the NHS England work to roll out the React to Red initiative. The programme will have an initial focus on supporting care homes across the Vale of York and will extend to carers and domiciliary agencies.

React to Red includes an education package using a simple yet effective framework which supports carers in recognising when an individual may be at increased risk of pressure ulcer development and the simple steps that can be taken to avoid them.

Find out more about all of the carers we have trained during 2018-19.

As an example Sara Fiori, our senior quality lead carried out a training session at a pop up carers hub in one of our more deprived wards of Tang Hall on 11 April 2018. Click here to find out more.

On 15 November 2018, as part of national ‘stop the pressure day’ a our team spoke to over 200 shoppers in Tesco Askham Byran about prevention of pressure ulcers. Meanwhile, care homes and care agencies across the Vale of York took part in the initiative to raise awareness of the risk of pressure ulcers amongst those we are caring for. Click here to see the review in our December Newsletter.

Q community: We have also been successful in securing funding to roll out a project of training to help domiciliary care agencies to recognise deteriorating residents. https://q.health.org.uk/idea/support-domiciliary-carers-to-identify-deterioration-using-softer-signs-tool/

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Review of transition services to support parents of young people with Special educational needs and disability (SEND) on moving into adulthood. 

Through listening to our service users and working with one of our parent carer patient stories (presented at our quality and patient experience committee in December 2017), we were informed of the need for more information and guidance to support parents of young people with Special Educational Needs and Disability (SEND) on moving into adulthood. 

Over the summer of 2018 we had a series of five seminars with York parent carer forum, to look find out more about the needs of parents of young people with SEND on moving into adulthood.

You said:

  • We want to know about physical health checks and screening for children and young people.
  • We are concerned about the communication from hospital clinics when transferring to adult services

We did:

  • Gave a presentation to the group on health checks to inform parents
  • Presentation - with easyread
  • Presentation with general infromation
  • Listened to feedback on the leaflets and draft letters for patients and families, and passed the suggestions to community paediatrics to make amendments
  • Took the feedback to inform a planned workshop on transitions (due March 2019) about process and ‘what does good look like’

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Autism pathway review with York Parent Carer Forum (Parents of children with autism)

You said:

We reviewed patient experience and feedback, key themes from a Healthwatch report on CAMHS, which also encompassed ADHD and Autism and attended a number of parent carers’ forums to listen to views and find out the experience of the autism pathway. You (our service users and representatives) told us:

  • There are long waits for a diagnosis
  • Communications is poor and Inconsistent messages across the system

We did/are doing

  • NHS Vale of York CCG, City of York Council and  Tees, Esk and Wear Valleys jointly held a further three workshops in conjunction with the York Parent Carer Forum (YPCF) to find out more about the concerns of parents (19 October 2018, 6 November 2019, 20 December 2018 and 18 January 2019. Click here to view the presentation.
  • We invited the YPCF to come to Doncaster to look at their joint health/local authority autism pathway
  • Workshops have brought issues around pathway into focus. The whole pathway is now under review and an action planning meeting is scheduled for 15 February with TEWV the hospital and City of York to address the problems. 

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Carers action plan 2018-20 and local carers strategies

We are working with our local authority partners to help embed the carers action plan as part of the carers strategy. On 6 December 2018 we helped deliver a workshop on the development of the new Carers Strategy for the City of York. Our head of engagement facilitated a session on how we can help raise awareness of carers within primary care. All of the comments are being processed and fed into the draft strategy.

Information on the carers action plan from the Department of Health 2018-20.

Full version:  https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/740297/carers-action-plan-easy-read.pdf

Easy read version: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/713781/carers-action-plan-2018-2020.pdf

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Carers toolkit and resources


If you would like to find out more information about services for carers, please read our carers and caring page.

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