If you provide unpaid care and support to a friend or family member due to their disability, health condition, frailty, mental health problem, addiction or other health and care need, then you are a carer (please note this does not apply to routine parenting).
If you are a staff carer we would encourage you to discuss your caring responsibilities with your manager, particularly if you are finding it difficult to manage your work-life balance.
Whilst you are not required to make your manager aware you are a carer, if you do, you can learn more about your options, including additional support and you may find there are ways we can support you that you hadn’t considered.
We also understand that caring responsibilities can change on both a short term and longer-term basis, by discussing those changes with your manager we can aim to support you to balance the demands of work and your caring responsibilities. Changes don’t always need to be permanent.
Our carer friendly policies
The Trust has a range of support available to staff, such as flexible working, time off for dependants, Agile working etc. Links to policies are below.Special leave policy
* this policy signposts to all other policies that may be helpful, see section 11Working flexibly Working in partnership with carers
Staff carers passport
We support the use of a carers passport for staff who have caring responsibilities.
This is a document in which staff and managers can record any support and adjustments which are agreed to enable the staff member to undertake their caring responsibilities. This should contain a note of the discussion, requests made, any agreed actions, a note of any additional actions to be undertaken and review dates.Carer’s passport guidance is available here Carer’s passport is available here
The Carer’s Passport is confidential to the member of staff, but the existence of the passport should be recorded on ESR under: 317|LOCAL|Carer Passport |
We are committed to recognising, supporting, and protecting our staff, now more than ever it is vital that we provide them with the support that they need.
Carers provide unpaid care by looking after an ill, older, or disabled family member, friend or partner. It could be a few hours a week or round the clock, in their own home or at the individual’s home. This means that the sort of roles and responsibilities that carers have to provide varies widely. They can range from help with everyday tasks such as getting out of bed and personal care such as bathing, to emotional support such as helping someone cope with the symptoms of a mental illness.
Some staff may not recognise themselves as carers or choose to disclose this. By discussing the options around support for those providing unpaid care we can support them to balance the demands of their work and their caring responsibilities.
How to identify a carer
The easiest way is to talk openly with staff to help foster the relationship and allow it to be an open door to future conversations and support they may need.
‘Do you provide unpaid care and support to a family member or friend due to their disability, health condition, frailty, mental health, addiction or other health and care need?‘
If they answer yes, then they are a carer, and you should continue the conversation with them to see how their needs can be supported. To aid you and the employee you should discuss their caring responsibilities and document the individual’s situation and support that you agree to put in place.
Facts and figures
According to Carers UK 5 million people in the UK are juggling caring responsibilities with work, which means 1 in 7 of the workforce however within the NHS this is predicted to be 1 in 5.
Many carers report that caring results in a negative and often lasting impact on their physical and mental health, but as with the rest of the population, many people with existing disabilities or long-term conditions also take on caring responsibilities. Carers Week research from 2018 found that 6 out of 10 people (61%) said their physical health has worsened as a result of caring, while 7 out of 10 (72%) said they have experienced mental ill health.
Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) carers provide more care proportionately than White British carers. There are close to half a million BAME carers in the UK, many of whom will not recognise themselves as carers. BAME carers are also less likely to be receiving practical and financial support with caring often as a result of lack of advice and information.
It is important to ensure that all colleagues are considered when having conversations around how we can best support carers.
Supporting carers in your team
Carers should be encouraged to plan ahead, and you may want to discuss what else the carer might need to put in place that we can assist with as an employer. For example, some carers may need to check their phone or make additional phone calls in order to check in with the person they provide care for.
You should try and establish how / if caring affects their work and if this is long term. It may be that a temporary move or adjustment to duties is possible on a short-term basis, or they may wish to look at flexible working to alter their hours or possibly reduce their hours in order to make more time for their caring responsibilities. Caring arrangements can change, and the member of staff should feel supported to be able to talk about those changes as and when they occur.
Ask the employee, what support they would benefit from in work. Being a carer isn’t a one size fits all and every caring responsibility is different. Some colleagues may benefit from peer support and the opportunity to ‘offload‘ every week whilst other staff may prefer not to talk about their caring role as they use work as a distraction.
Whilst it may not be possible to accommodate every request being a supportive employer for carers is mutually beneficial as it allows us to maintain staff retention, reduce unplanned absenteeism and to retain the skills needed whilst improving staff morale and loyalty.
- What actions have you taken away from the conversation?
- Have you created a plan with the carer? Will you review it?
- Finally, are they getting support outside of work?
North of Tyne useful websites
NewcastleInformation now website Newcastle City Council – information for carers
NorthumberlandNorthumberland frontline Northumberland council – support for carers Health watch Northumberland – one call social services
North TynesideNorth Tyneside council website – caring for someone North East North Cumbria ICB My Northtyneside
Patient & visitor parking concessionsRoyal Victoria Infirmary – Car parking concessions Freeman Hospital – Car parking concessions Centre for Life – Car parking Campus for Ageing and Vitality – Car parking
Free energy & welfare concessionsQuick access to free, impartial advice – Citizens Advice Gateshead
Useful local, regional and national carers support
Palliative and End of life carePalliative and End of Life Care Carers Information (June 2021) leaflet version
To order a hard copy of the NUTH Carers pack please email the Patient Experience team directly [email protected]
Newcastle City Council – Community Health and Social Care Team
Equipment ChatBot & Out of office hours Emergency Duty Team. This is the team to contact for more information about social care, support available and to organise future full needs assessments or / and a carers assessment.Contact for more information about social care, support available
Note: All Local Authorities nationally can offer this type of support.
Community reablement serviceInformation about the reablement service
Local Carers Centres
There are several external agencies who can provide specific support, such as local the following local regional and national carers organisations
Tel: 0167 032 0025
Tel: 0191 275 5060
Tel: 0191 490 0121
Tel: 0191 549 3768
North Tyneside Carers
South Tyneside Carers
Tel: 0191 454 3346
Redcar & Middlesborough Carers