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NHS England Commitment to Carers End of Year Progress Summary 2014/2015

The five and a half million carers in England make a critical and underappreciated contribution not only to loved ones, neighbours and friends, but to the very sustainability of the NHS itself. In May 2014, NHS England published its Commitment to Carers to give them the recognition and support they need to provide invaluable care for loved ones.

This brief summary provides a review of the progress achieved against the commitments to carers that NHS England made last year. It will demonstrate that we have made a good start to our journey, but we also recognise that there is still more work to be done. NHS England remains committed to continuing this work to support carers with our partners in 2015/16. We would like to thank all the carers and carer organisations who have contributed their valuable knowledge and experience to this process and our achievements so far and we look forward to their continued support going forward.

There are 37 commitments spread across eight key priorities - which include raising the profile of carers, education and training, person-centered coordinated care and primary care - which have been developed in partnership with carers, patients, partner organisations and care professionals over the past few months.
This document sets out a series of commitments to carers. It reflects what NHS England has heard from carers over the past three months during a number of engagement events. Whilst the commitments have been well-received by carers organisations, we are clear that this document and the commitments within, simply represent the start of a journey and a step in the right direction. We will keep listening and refining our commitments. Ultimately, we want to improve the quality of life for carers and the people for whom they care by supporting what carers have told us is important to them.

The summary table at the end of this commentary show that 32 of the commitments have either been completed and will be continued to be monitored or the initial action is complete and further work will be required in 2015/16 and 5 commitments are still ongoing into work streams for 2015/16.

Carers are hugely important to the NHS, their importance and value is recognised in NHS England’s Five Year Forward View which commits the NHS to find new ways to support carers. The Commitment to Carers document was published in May 2014 and sets out NHS England’s commitment to carers and is based on what carers have said is important to them. Carers are also a directorate priority for the Nursing and Medical Directorates for 2015/16.

The commitments have been overseen by a delivery group comprising of carers organisations and they have agreed the content of this report. In line with transparency, this document provides an end of year report where progress has been made and what further action is needed.