Health and social care experts, and members of the voluntary and community sector have been working together to identify ways Walsall can become a ‘Carer Friendly Borough.’
Walsall Together – a partnership of health, social, housing, voluntary and community organisations that are working together to improve physical and mental health outcomes, promote wellbeing and reduce inequalities across the borough – has also been involved.
During the first session of the group, which included Walsall Healthcare NHS Trust’s Patient Experience Team, it was identified that following COVID-19, many services for unpaid carers had ended and there were gaps in support across the partnership.
Following the meeting a task and finish group was set up to discuss the possibility of a multi-agency strategy and this has been meeting up every few months.
A follow-up session was recently held by Walsall Together during which the group discussed developing relationships between Early Help (Walsall Council) and the Trust’s Patient Experience Team, which regularly work together to promote services within the hospital and hold a monthly pop-up stand.
Andrew Rice, Patient Voice Lead at Walsall Healthcare, said: “It has been great to meet with colleagues from each of the partnership organisations and collaborate on improvements for services supporting unpaid carers in Walsall.
“The meetings have been useful to understand what all the groups are working on and what we can do to help each other.
“The main aim is that we improve access to support for carers as ultimately better support for carers means our patients have better clinical outcomes.”
This month a new system to identify, recognise and support carers accompanying patients in Walsall Manor Hospital’s Emergency Department (ED) was launched.
The Family and Carers Support Service at Walsall Healthcare has already been running a “Partners in Care” initiative across various wards and units. This aims to ensure carers are recognised and supported to continue their role as and how they wish.
Now, the focus will be on establishing a new referral process in ED to identify carers at the earliest opportunity as so many come into contact with healthcare services.