Unpaid carers have played a greater role than ever before in supporting people with their care needs, an incredible contribution in the fight against COVID-19. In addition to the direct support they provide, carers can play a vital role in sharing feedback about the care their family and friends receive.
Together with CQC as part of our Because We All Care campaign, we are asking carers to tell us about the care their loved ones receive, positive or negative across care homes, GP services, hospitals on in their own home.
Research undertaken by CQC and Healthwatch has shown that unpaid carers are already more likely than the general population to provide feedback on health and social care experiences on behalf of loved ones, with 67% reporting they give positive feedback on care. In addition, 58% of carers also said they will be more likely to provide positive feedback on care after the coronavirus pandemic.
The research also found that unpaid carers are significantly more likely to have taken action to improve health and social care (71%) than the rest of the population (44%).
Jo Tuck, Deputy Manager of Healthwatch West Sussex says:
'In recent years we have heard many stories about the challenges that carers face in our community. Through community engagement activities and our relationship with Carers Support West Sussex we have heard rich and personal accounts which are so valuable to our work and this campaign reinforces those important messages.
In sharing their stories with us, carers across West Sussex can have their voices heard by local health and care system leaders and decision makers – these voices can and do have influence and can lead to positive change.
We encourage carers across West Sussex to speak up and share their stories with us and our colleagues at Carers Support. Together we can make a difference.'
Sonia Mangan, Chief Executive of Carers Support West Sussex, adds:
'Our recent engagement with 1,000 unpaid carers in West Sussex reiterates the CQC research that our carers are great at providing vital feedback to evaluate service provision. Carers will be both observers and recipients of care which positions them perfectly to offer insight often missed when not at the coal face. I urge our caring community to get involved and share your experiences, good and bad, so we can help shape the future of care.'
Sir Robert Francis QC, Chair of Healthwatch England, said:
'Unpaid carers are the backbone of our health and social care systems and their commitment and compassion have never been more vital. The COVID-19 pandemic has had a big impact on both them and those they care for whilst also prompting a huge rise in the number of new people taking on caring roles, ranging from shopping for food and collecting medicine to providing emotional support.
'And that is why we’re asking everyone who looks after their friends or family members to share their experiences of care services with their local Healthwatch.
'Your feedback can help the NHS and social care providers understand what could be improved as they work hard to provide the best possible care during these difficult times. By sharing your experiences via our completely independent and confidential survey, you can help improve support for everyone in your local community.'
Kate Terroni, Chief Inspector of Adult Social Care at CQC, said:
'There are 6.5 million unpaid carers in England and their voices are extremely powerful. We are incredibly grateful that many carers have already shared their experiences of what care is like in care homes, hospitals and GPs - good and bad – this is vital intelligence to CQC and really does make a difference. By the end of December we have we carried out over 1900 risk-based inspections using vital intelligence, including from carers and members of the public. I’d like to make a plea that carers continue to talk to us about what care is like as they are our eyes and ears on the ground.'
Because We All Care campaign
The Because We All Care campaign, which was launched in July 2020 and runs extensively on social media, aims to help services identify and address quality issues and support patients by encouraging people to share feedback on individual experiences of health and social care services in England.
People can give feedback on their experiences of care, or those of someone they care for, on the CQC website or via the link below. We can also help you with advice and information to access the support you need.