Carers support

What is a carer?

A carer is a person of any age, adult or child, 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.

Did you know?

That 1.2 million carers spend over 50 hours caring for others, this equates to a full time workforce larger than the entire NHS. Carers are estimated to save the UK economy £119 billion a year in care costs, more than the entire NHS budget and equivalent to £18,473 per year for every carer in the UK.

On this page you will be able to find a range of resources which the Royal College of General Practitioners has developed to help GPs and primary healthcare staff in their support of people with caring responsibilities.

Contact us

The RCGP’s Supporting Carers programme closed on 31 March 2015. For further information about the RCGP’s work on supporting carers in general practice please contact

Commissioning for Carers Principles

The RCGP, NHS England and NHS Improving Quality have launched ten high-level principles and a self-assessment questionnaire to support commissioners to invest in carers based on effective approaches that have been identified from the evidence summits. The principles are underpinned by ways of identifying and supporting carers at a population level to help them provide better care and to stay well themselves, thereby contributing to better lives for those needing care as well as more effective use of NHS resources.

Commissioning for Carers Principles

Commitment to Carers Event 5 December 2014

On Friday 5 December 2014, the RCGP, NHS England and NHS Improving Quality launched a suite of resources designed to help healthcare professionals and commissioners to support carers at the NHS England Commitment to Carers year on event.

These resources include the Carers Commissioning Support Principles and the RCGP Caring for Carers Hub. Additionally the event will reflect on progress that has been made over the past year in making sure that carers are recognised, valued and supported.


Caring for Carers Hub

The RCGP, with funding from the Department of Health (DH), has developed the Carers First carers hub which will provide information for primary care staff about how to help carers focus on their own health and wellbeing, whilst looking after someone else.

The Hub will contain generic national information but will primarily be a platform for CCGs to add information about local services, support groups and resources to support carers in the local area. Content of the Hub has been developed in collaboration with RCGP stakeholders and has utilised the RCGP's networks of clinicians with an expertise in supporting carers. We would like to hear from CCGs or localities who would like their own free Caring for Carers Hub. If you would like to work together to develop a Hub for your locality you can register your interest by emailing or phoning 020 3188 7633.

Caring for Carers Hub

Demonstration of the Bedfordshire CFC Pilot Hub

Watch the video here.

GP Champions for Carers

RCGP had a number of GP Champions based around England who were able to offer in-depth knowledge and expertise in supporting and identifying carers.

Carers Evidence Summits

Carers Evidence Summits

The RCGP partnered with NHS England and NHS Improving Quality to run four Carers Evidence Summits in July 2014. As part of these events we searched for examples of good practice, what is working well for carers, from across England. These care studies are now available to view on the NHS Improving Quality website.

Supporting Carers eLearning Programme

Supporting Carers in General Practice eLearning

This module provides six interactive educational sessions designed for health and social care professionals, each taking around 20 minutes to complete. The module will provide information and guidance for GPs and other community healthcare professionals to enable them to build carer involvement and support into their everyday practice.

Taking Action to Support Carers in Practice Teams

The RCGP has produced a successful practice training DVD, and due to this success an eLearning module has been developed, with the DVD being used as a basis. It is designed to focus on supporting carers from a practice perspective, and as such it may be used as group training for practice teams as well as by individuals.

Access carer e-Learning modules

Training DVD for GPs and practice teams

This resource enables training on supporting carers to be fitted around work and other commitments by providing an interactive experience that can be used within practice team meetings. The DVD won highly commended in the 2013 BMA Medical Book Awards' digital and online resources category, and there are over 2000 copies already in use.

Please contact providing your name and address for a copy of the DVD.

Commissioning for Carers Guide

The RCGP Commissioning for Carers Guidance is aimed at supporting Health and Social Care Commissioners and was developed in collaboration with Department of Health and other key stakeholders of the programme, with input from various commissioning, clinical and non-clinical leads. The document contains examples of best practice across the country and is aimed to influence and guide commissioners to support commissioning for carers. The interactive PDF and a user guide are available to download below.

The Commissioning for Carers guide [PDF]

How to use the guide [PDF]

Involving and Supporting Carers and Families

This educational framework will help programme directors, trainers and other educators develop their own carer-related training, such as tutorials, workshops, courses and other learning resources about carers. It contains recommended key messages and themes, together with case illustrations and other practical information.

Involving and Supporting Carers and Families [PDF]

How GP practices can improve carer identification and support

RCGP invited applications from general practices around the country to describe their journeys towards improved carer identification and support. This report collates the information provided by these exemplar practices. A number of common themes emerged, together with some innovative ideas and practical guidance on ways that practices can improve the services that they offer to their carers.

Summary report [PDF]


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