Everything we do is focused on improving services for carers and those they care for. Our own services provide a wide range of support for carers, when they need it. We don’t have a referral service – we respond and act to help you move on.
Much of the funding for social care comes from Local Authorities (we get funding from Notts County Council) so we need to keep abreast of the County services and the Nottingham City Council services. Most of our carers either live within the Nottingham City Council boundary or in the Greater Nottingham area covered by the local District authorities of Rushcliffe, Gedling and Broxtowe. Some members live within the Mansfield, Ashfield and Newark & Sherwood District council areas.
Health services are commissioned by Clinical Commissioning Groups and our most important provider of mental health services is Nottinghamshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust with its head office in Nottingham. So our carers come from very different communities and our support reflects that in where we have our influence. Our ‘Allies’ in our organisation title are these organisations, statutory service providers, other care organisations and policy makers.
There are some key service development plans we are involved in and some plans for development of our own services.
Current consultations we are involved in:
Changes in Notts County Council Carer funding methods
Nottinghamshire County Council have been looking at ways of using their budget for carer support to support those with the greatest need. The Carers’ Council have two of its committee and other members involved in a working group to help the Council with their plans. The new approach is to remove the fixed grant for support and replace it with a 3 Tier approach depending on carer needs as below. More detail is available here COUNCIL SUPPORT PLANS. The system is expected to be in place by 1st April 2020 – watch this space…
- Tier 1 – Help to help yourself – Information and advice – focuses on information and advice with carers having their needs met on that first contact. Carers might come back to this point as and when further information, advice and support is needed.
- Tier 2 – Help when you need it – short term interventions. in addition to Tier 1 this focuses on providing further short term help to carers when they need it. An example could be that that a carer would benefit from some face to face support or equipment or a therapy referral.
- Tier 3 – Ongoing help – Long term support with ongoing review. on top of Tiers 1 & 2 this focuses on additional support for carers who need ongoing long term help in order to live their lives and continue in their caring role and would include assessment, support planning and review. It may also include support for the cared-for through a range of other services such as carer direct payments or access to respite care.
Review of Notts Healthcare Trust Carers Strategy
The current Trust Carers Strategy 2015-2018 here has been under review since 2018. However since then the new Nottinghamshire Integrated Care System (ICS) has developed an All ages integrated mental health and social care strategy here .
The vision for this new integrated strategy is :
“A whole system,all-age, person-centred approach, driven by access to physical and mental health and
social care in the same place at the same time, with no wrong door, where prevention is at the heart of all we do. We will reduce inequalities and narrow the gap between SMI (serious mental illness) life expectancy and the rest of the population by 3 years and increase healthy life expectancy by 3 years.”
The Trust is now in the process of re-evaluating its Carers strategy in the light of the guidance now provided by the ICS strategy. We will provide more information here as this unfolds…….
Developing our services relies on listening to our carers and making sure any development meets their needs.
Areas we are looking at include:
- Making sure our Open meetings reflect what would add value to carers experience
- Promoting mental health awareness in our communities and helping mental health service providers to understand the needs of carers.
- Lobbying for promises made to improve mental health service investment to be delivered since in previous years promised investment has not materialised.
- Adding our input into the development of the Mental Health Carer strategy which is being developed as part of the Nottinghamshire Integrated Care System (ICS) across health and social care.
- Support Notts Healthcare Trust in investing more in psychological services, reducing waiting lists for support, providing mental health support at A&E and improving the effectiveness of hospital mental health services.
- Seek to hold service commissioners to account for using their resources to best effect.
- Supporting the development of Social Prescribing (see here…)
- Improve the support for unpaid Carers (see here..)
Focus on funding
There are a number of pressures which affect funding for carers:
- As you have seen above Nottinghamshire County Council are changing their priorities so that carers and service users with the greatest needs receive a bigger slice of funding available.
- The government is under pressure to increase spending on social care services for the elderly particularly but mental health is increasingly a priority for community commissioning. The elderly particularly are more likely to suffer multiple conditions needing hospital and primary care treatment.
- The Voluntary Care Service (VCS) sector continues to struggle for funds as local authorities increase their focus on cost effective local care services and there is more competition for funding from organisations such as the National Lottery .
What can carers do
- Make more use of local carer support groups which offer quicker access to support and better excellent value from peer support.
- Support your local carer support group who will be able to put more into carer support and be seen to bring real value to the caring role.
- Tell us what your concerns and experiences are so we can raise your voice with service providers.
- Help us make the best use of the funding we get.
Social prescribing is a way of supporting people with a wide range of health, social, emotional or practical needs to improve their mental health and physical well-being. Link workers will work in local communities to give people time and focus on what matters to the person as identified through shared decision making or personalised care and support planning. They connect people to community groups and agencies for practical and emotional support.
Social prescribing particularly works for a wide range of people, including people:
- with one or more long-term conditions
- who need support with their mental health
- who are lonely or isolated
- who have complex social needs which affect their wellbeing
Caring for Carers
There are over 6 million unpaid carers in the UK providing around £130 billion per year of their time. That’s roughly £21,600 per year per carer being given to others. Many don’t realise they are carers so they are unaware of the support and services available to them. In families it is natural to feel that when someone becomes ill with a long term condition, the family will take on the caring role which may be the spouse or parent, or a friend or children. If that means giving personal care the person who is ill will feel uncomfortable if they are looked after by a stranger. So pressures on families who are caring for someone often result in the carer not wishing to look outside for help in case they are seen as inadequate. This adds to stress and isolation when help could be at hand. Carer groups help carers to see they are not alone in their situations and other carers will readily understand what they are going through and offer support and mental illness can be very stigmatising if that understanding is lacking. So find out where carer support groups exist in your locality. Have a look at ‘Useful Contacts‘ to help you find someone to help you.
Carers face a number of issues:
Poverty – caused by the impact on employment or problems with benefits
Physical strain and exhaustion – caused by the physical demands of lifting someone (physical care) or disturbed sleep or trying to run a family or hold down a job
Emotional or mental strain – seeing your loved one’s suffering and their dependence which may affect other family relationships which undermines well-being
Isolation – unable to take time off from caring, keeping you at home and having no outside interests or social life
Feeling under-achievement – caring is very tiring and takes all your time trying to focus on the caring role and work or education or trying to develop a career – this reduces your ability to perform well adding further stress to your life