Carers told “you are not alone” as help is launched in north Norfolk and Broadland

A new service that will help the unsung army of carers to get the support that they need is being set up at 20 GP surgeries across north Norfolk and Broadland.

North Norfolk Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) is piloting the project to provide support work at surgeries - and it could spread to the rest of Norfolk if the nine-month trial is successful.

Under the scheme, which is being delivered by Norwich and District Carers Forum (NDCF), two part-time support workers will be available on a monthly basis at each surgery to give support to anyone in an unpaid caring role.

The support workers will be able to refer carers for an assessment, which all carers are entitled to, to help meet their emotional and practical needs. They will also be able to refer carers to other agencies for support.

The service was designed by North Norfolk's CCG patient partnership, which was formed to give patients in north Norfolk the chance to get involved with designing the future of their local healthcare.

The partnership includes many carers and the group organised an event to get feedback about the proposal from patients and carers.

Jeanne Norman, adult carers project development manager at NDCF, said: 'The service will offer information, advice, guidance and emotional support to those who provide unpaid help to a relative, friend or partner.'

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She added: 'I think that this new service will be really important for carers. Rather than speaking to someone on the phone, they can see someone at their GP surgery.

'Although carers have practical needs, there is also the emotional impact of the changes to their life and changes to the person they are caring for. Being able to talk confidentially on a one-to-one basis about such issues is so important.'

Dr Nicola Pinching, lead GP for carers in North Norfolk CCG and a GP at Horsford Medical Centre, said: 'Although carers are unpaid, they do a valuable job. We hope that more carers will come forward for advice and support through this pilot.

'Caring for a friend or family member can sometimes be a lonely process. We want carers to know that they are not alone, and this initiative aims to make advice and support easier to access.'

The service covers all GP surgeries in north Norfolk, plus Acle, Aylsham, Blofield, Brundall, Coltishall, Drayton and St Faiths, Horsford and Reepham in Broadland.

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