It is estimated that carers save the UK around £132 billion a year and the benefits they bring to the NHS cannot be underestimated. It is likely that every one of us will have caring responsibilities at some time in our lives, with the challenges faced by carers taking many forms. Many carers juggle their caring responsibilities with work, study and family commitments.
The Trust, therefore, invested in several resources and support for both staff and for those who use our services funding the development of a carers passport and a thriving staff carers network.
The Trust employs over 4,500 staff, some of whom are currently balancing caring responsibilities with long working hours. With the impact of covid-19 carers of people who use our services are amongst those whose responsibilities have increased.
Following a successful application to ‘Charitable Funds’ the Trust recruited a part time carers project management officer (CPMO) until the end of 2022. The (CPMO) role is to ensure the Trust’s commitment is upheld, the needs of family, friends, and carers are appropriately addressed by embedding and accelerating all the new and innovative approaches across the organisation.
Who did you consult with and what did you ask?
The CPMO formed partnerships with a wealth of carer organisations and links with the following groups for feedback:
- Staff carers network
- Equality and Involvement Committee
- Carers Network meeting
- Trust network group WYH unpaid carers
- Young carers steering group
Feedback was gained on the following questions:
- What would make carers feel valued?
- Where are the gaps?
- What would support recruitment?
- How can we be smarter in the delivery of the voluntary support carers provide?
- What would support carers in their work life to make this a great place to work?
- How can we accelerate the embedding of the staff passport?
What did they tell you?
Common themes from the feedback revealed:
- The completion and delivery of a staff carers awareness training package is integral to progress the embedding of the carer’s passports; this package to be fully coproduced by staff carers, unpaid carers, the champions and carers leads with involvement or support from carer support agencies. It was highlighted that the package is to be face to face (or now online via Microsoft Teams) rather than e-learning. It was felt it would also be useful if the training was delivered to a service – this could be tailored towards their needs (just the relevant documentation etc)
- The carers passports paid and unpaid are a useful resource, however, before they can be appropriately embedded, the systems to measure their data are required to be updated and simplified.
- To enable us to move forward with recruitment of carers champions across the Trust a framework and descriptor is required.
- The staff carers network needs to become more visible and representative at Committee level. For its members to have a voice in policies and planning and make the Trust a great place to work and for staff carers to feel valued.
What did you do?
- The CPMO worked with the Staff Carers Network (SCN) to provide its members with regular meetings and updates. Feedback from these meetings are taken to Human Resources (HR) and Trust Board.
- The SCN has become a representative of the Equality and Involvement Committee.
- Carers champions workshops were set up by the CPMO to continue to increase awareness of carers and to improve the support to the carers champions.
- A carers champion email address was set up.
- A ‘care for a cuppa event’ was held in July 2021 to provide time out to staff carers on a monthly basis and this continues to be delivered.
- Regular updates are provided on the staff network page.
- The SCN is part of staff induction and virtual recruitment events.
- The SCN first animated newsletter was developed in November 2021 and continues to be updated on a 4 monthly basis and can be viewed on the staff network page on the intranet; March 2022 recently submitted.
- To monitor the organisations progress to be a great place to work for staff carers, the chair of the SCN consulted with Carers UK to discuss what it would take to become a carer confident organisation.
- The CPMO worked with members of the SCN to set up a working task group to look at the way we record staff carer passports and data onto employee staff record; to allow for self-identification and to be recognised as a protective characteristic.
- Feedback from SCN members was collated and taken to Human Resources (HR) to support the update of special leave policy and the network is now representative at committee level to have a voice in policies and planning.
- The CPMO formed a working task group in January 2022 to accelerate the development of the staff carers awareness training package. The task group includes staff carers, unpaid carers, and carer champions. The involvement of the recovery colleges was sought to support the delivery of the staff carers awareness training package using training facilitators.
- To improve and simplify the recording of unpaid carer data, the CPMO set up a working group with Clinical Information Systems, Performance & Information Team, and carer leads.
- The training opportunities for carers and staff carer awareness training package is now in development and a pilot is to be presented to the next carers champions workshop May 2022 with a view to this being delivered to teams across the Trust by the end of the year.
- As a direct result of working with the Trusts HR on the Employee Record System (ESR) it became evident the current system in place for identifying staff carers and documentation of staff carers passport was insufficient and led to the CPMO working with national ESR on identifying a solution to this issue. National ESR will present their improvement suggestions April 2022 to regional ESR and we are hopeful this will include some form of self-identification for staff carers and for this to be placed in personal characteristics.
- Similarly, systems to record unpaid carers data on systmone required simplifying and improving and a pilot scheme is currently live and being tested by 3 relative teams on its efficacy. It is hoped this will be implemented across the Trust in-line with the staff carers awareness training at the end of the year.
- Following feedback from carers champions workshops a framework and descriptor for the champions was developed and this has increased recruitment of champions across the cohorts and gaps are now being identified.
- The monitoring of the organisations progress against the commitments set out in the family, friends, and carers charter in the form of an action plan has been set out and continually updated to remain relevant.
- The involvement of ‘family, friends and carers’ in the development of any strategies or plans culture in all aspects of improvements implemented in a range of forums, networks, and working task groups continues.
- Following consultation with Carers UK an application form for benchmark was completed and submitted at Accomplished level 2 in February 2022. This was a successful application and the Trust became a carer confident organisation on the 18th March 2022.
Where can you find more information about this work?
If you would like more information on the work, you can visit the following website pages:
Or you can email direct to:
- The Carers Project Management Officer (CPMO) firstname.lastname@example.org
- The carers champions email@example.com
- The staff carers network SCN@swyt.nhs.uk
Engagement location: Trustwide
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