General practitioners, primary care and support for carers in England: can training make a difference?

Authors

  • Ray Jones BSc (Hons) MSc PhD CQSW AcSS,

    1. Faculty of Health and Social Care Sciences, Kingston University and St. George’s, University of London, London, UK
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  • Ann Mackenzie RGN MA PhD,

    1. Faculty of Health and Social Care Sciences, Kingston University and St. George’s, University of London, London, UK
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  • Nan Greenwood PhD BSc (Hons) MSc,

    1. Faculty of Health and Social Care Sciences, Kingston University and St. George’s, University of London, London, UK
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  • Christine Atkins BSc (Hons) MSc DipSW,

    1. Faculty of Health and Social Care Sciences, Kingston University and St. George’s, University of London, London, UK
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  • Ruth Habibi PhD BA (Hons) MRes

    1. Faculty of Health and Social Care Sciences, Kingston University and St. George’s, University of London, London, UK
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Ray Jones
School of Social Work
Faculty of Health and Social Care Sciences
Kingston University
Kenry House
Kingston Hill Campus
Kingston Upon Thames
Surrey
KT2 7LB
UK
E-mail: r.l.jones@sgul.kingston.ac.uk

Abstract

As a part of the national carers’ strategy, the Department of Health commissioned six pilot workshops spread across England for General Practitioners (GPs) and other primary healthcare workers. The six workshops were held during September and October 2009, arranged by the Royal College of General Practitioners and planned in consultation with the Princess Royal Trust for Carers. The workshops were delivered by one of two GPs and by a carer. The Department of Health commissioned an evaluation of the workshop programme. This paper reports on the attitudes towards and knowledge of carers by GPs and other primary care workers, such as community matrons, practice nurses, healthcare assistants, practice managers and receptionists. It also tracks changes over time from the questionnaire responses pre- and post-workshop and 3 months later in the GPs’ and other primary care workers’ response to carers. Prior to the workshops, GPs and other primary care workers saw primary care as having a significant role in directly assisting carers, especially with emotional support and in signposting to other services. However, there was a lack of knowledge about issues facing carers, limited confidence in assisting carers and few services within the primary care teams directly focussed on carers. The workshops were regarded positively by those who attended, and the evaluation found that there was a positive impact with GPs and other primary care workers reporting specific actions they had taken post-workshop to assist carers, greater confidence and awareness in working with carers, and increased knowledge about carers. The paper concludes by recommending how the pilot programme might be rolled out more widely.

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