Carers are people who look after a relative, friend or partner who is ill, disabled, frail, has a mental health or substance misuse problem, without payment.

Most of us will be a carer at some point in our lives. It is estimated that in the UK there are currently 6.53 million carers, around 1 in 10 of the population.

Adult carers are older than the general population, and people over 65 constitute one third of all carers providing more than 50 hours of care a week. Almost two thirds of cared aged 60 - 94 have a disability or long term health problem.

83 percent of carers say that caring has had a negative effect on their physical health and 87 percent say that caring has had a negative effect on their mental health. Meanwhile two in five carers say they have put off treatment because of their caring responsibilities.

The 2001 Census indicated that there are 174,995 young people under the age of 18 who provide care; 13,029 of these provide care for 50 or more hours per week.

HM Government’s strategy: Carers at the Heart of 21st Century Families and Communities sets out the vision for the support of carers to 2018 – "A caring system on your side; a life of your own."

Local services are important to carers. NHS NEW Devon CCG supports carers in a number of ways with its partners; Devon County Council (DCC) and Plymouth City Council (PCC).

Joint NHS/local authority commissioning through the partnerships directorate aims to provide support services to carers that are personal, sensitive to individual needs, responsive to local communities, supporting carers in their caring role and protecting their health and wellbeing.
"83% of carers say that caring has had a negative effect on their physical health and 87% say that caring has had a negative effect on their mental health. Meanwhile two in five carers say they have put off treatment because of their caring responsibilities."
If you would like to find out more about the Devon Carers Strategy, click hereIf you would like to find out more about the Care Act 2014, click hereIf you would like to find out more about Young Carers , click here
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Community preventive and early intervention services for carers are commissioned jointly with County Council partners, through a range of joint agreements.

Northern and Eastern localities and South Devon are jointly commissioned with DCC.

In the Western Locality, services within the Plymouth City boundary are jointly commissioned with PCC, for the remainder they are jointly commissioned with DCC.

Services in South Devon are jointly commissioned with South Devon and Torbay CCG.

Services for Devon carers:

Carer health and wellbeing checks - from GP practices and pharmacies, carer support workers and at special carers' events (see Devon Carers website for list of providers and advice on how to get a check).

Devon Carers, a consortium of voluntary sector organisations, provides an extensive range of services for carers in Devon;

  • a telephone helpline available Monday - Friday, 8am - 6pm, Saturday 9am - 1pm, call 0845 643 4435
  • a regular newsletter
  • a carer alert card
  • support groups
  • carers support staff
  • carers assessment - by telephone and face-face 
  • carers health and wellbeing checks
  • help to access time off from caring
  • help when you, or the person you care for, are discharged from hospital and you do not have the help you need
  • training in caring safely and self-care
  • information and advice if you are thinking of giving up work or reducing your hours to care.

Services for Plymouth carers:

Following a competitive procurement process there is now a contract in place with a community and voluntary sector organisation to provide the Enhanced Carer Support Service which delivers services for all carers over the age 18, including parent carers.

Who are these services for?

These services are for people who are carers - a carer is someone of any age who provides unpaid support to someone - a relative, partner or friend who is ill, frail, disabled or has mental health or substance misuse problems – who could not manage without this help.

Many carers think they are just doing what anyone would do, and do not realise that there is help available for them.
Children and young people can be young carers, and there are specific support services for them. There are also services geared to the needs of young adult carers (aged 18-24).

What is the function of the services?

The services fulfil the requirements of the National Strategy for Carers, the Care Act 2014 and the Children and Families Act 2014, which sets out the actions necessary to ensure the best possible outcomes for carers and those they support, including:

  • supporting those with caring responsibilities to identify themselves as carers at an early stage, recognising the value of their contribution and involving them from the outset both in designing local care provision and in planning individual care packages
  • enabling those with caring responsibilities to fulfil their educational and employment potential
  • personalised support both for carers and those they support, enabling them to have a family and community life
  • supporting carers to remain mentally and physically well

How to access the services?

For Devon, information on all current services can be obtained from Devon Carers, who provide most of the services directly and can signpost carers to the most appropriate specialist or local service when they are not the provider: or call 0845 643 4435 .

For Plymouth carer's, services and information can be found at:
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