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Chief Nurse's Blog

Chief Nurse's Blog

Date of release: 11 June 2021

Latest News: Ann-Marie Cannaby Blog

As part of Carers’ Week I want to highlight the carer’s passport, which has been introduced at The Royal Wolverhampton NHS Trust (RWT) and is soon to start at Walsall Healthcare NHS Trust (WHT) following a pilot scheme.

NHS England’s definition of a carer is someone who provides unpaid care and support to a family member or friend due to their disability, health condition, frailty, mental health problem, addiction or other health and care need. If you are looking after a child, including your own child, who has special physical or mental health support needs, then you are also a carer. There are currently an estimated 250,000 unpaid carers working in the NHS.

In response to this, the Department of Health and Social Care created the Carer’s Passport Scheme following the publication of NHS England’s long-term plan in January 2019. Among its recommendations was an initiative to encourage the national adoption of a carer’s passport, which aims to:

  • Aid identification and support of carers 
  • Raise awareness of caring 
  • Provide a concrete, easily understandable offer of support or services 
  • Make carers feel valued 
  • Highlight carer’s support responsibilities to their Manager or supervisor 
  • Provide a shortcut so carers don’t have to repeatedly explain themselves

At RWT, the idea has been adopted as the ‘Working Carer’s Passport’. The passport, which is a form, can be printed off or typed on to, and is available to all eligible staff. Carers are encouraged to join the Trust’s Carers Employee Voice Group. This is an opportunity to meet other carers and provides access to a friendly network of support and opportunity to talk about what it means to be a carer with other carers, access to advice and experts, as well as up-to-date information on support and resources.

WHT are introducing a carer’s passport for carers looking after patients, as well as staff who are carers. For carers looking after patients, this will help identify them to staff. The WHT carer’s passport is a laminated ID card. For staff who are carers, they can self-refer into the scheme and be supported by managers. 

WHT are in the process of rolling out a Trust-wide carer’s survey so they can identify the carers within the workforce and how best they can be supported. Patients and staff requiring further information on WHT’s carer’s passport scheme should email matthew.hill@walsallhealthcare.nhs.uk

Matthew Hill, Patient Relations and Experience Support Officer with WHT, said: “Many unpaid carers struggle to have their role recognised by health and care professionals. By introducing a carer’s passport we hope to encourage more people to tell us they have caring responsibilities so we can set out the support, services or benefits we can offer.”

Samantha Baker, a Ward Clerk on the Neuro Rehab Unit at New Cross Hospital, Wolverhampton, has a five-year-old son William, who has global development delay – meaning he is significantly delayed in his cognitive and physical development – sensory processing disorder, development language disorder and Radioulnar Synostosis, a rare condition where there is an abnormal connection between the bones in the forearm. He is currently being cared for by paediatricians at The Gem Centre and New Cross Hospital, a speech and language therapist, a consultant at Birmingham Children’s Hospital and is under genetic testing at Birmingham.

Samantha welcomed the introduction of the Carer’s Passport. She said: “I think the Carers’ Passport will really help. William has a hospital passport and it means I don’t have to explain everything every time he sees someone new. If staff could have the same to give their managers I think this will be a huge help.”

Take care,
Ann-Marie

A Teaching Trust of the University of Birmingham