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NHS England’s Commitment to Carers

A carer is anybody who looks after a family member, partner or friend who needs help because of their illness, frailty or disability. All the care they give is unpaid.
Many carers don't see themselves as carers. It takes carers an average of two years to acknowledge their role as a carer. It can be difficult for carers to see their caring role as separate from the relationship they have with the person for whom they care, whether that relationship is as a parent, a son or daughter, or a friend.
It’s 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 other family commitments. Some, in particular younger carers, are not known to be carers. They don't tell relatives, friends or health and care professionals about their responsibilities because of fear of separation, guilt, pride or other reasons.

This means that the sort of roles and responsibilities that carers have to provide varies hugely. 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.

The Department of Health’s mandate to NHS England includes ensuring that the NHS becomes dramatically better at involving carers as well as patients in care. NHS England has held a number of participation exercises with carers and this document sets out how it will support the NHS to deliver what carers have said is important to them.