Greater Manchester launches strategy to support carers

The role of local carers, and the support they require, has prompted the launch of Greater Manchester Mental Health NHS Foundation’s Trust’s first carers’ strategy.

The Carers, Family and Friends Strategy was launched last month to set out how Greater Manchester Mental Health NHS Foundation Trust is working with partners in health, social care and the voluntary sector to support the thousands of Greater Manchester carers who look after people with mental health problems. 

GMMH was created in January last year, when the Greater Manchester West Mental Health NHS Foundation Trust acquired Manchester Mental Health and Social Care NHS Trust. The new organisation has 851 patient beds, services in 130 locations across the region, and runs more than 700 community and out-patient clinics a week. In the last year it treated 53,000 patients.

GMMH’s first Carers, Family and Friends Strategy sets out how the Trust will involve and support carers across Bolton, Salford, Trafford, Prestwich, Manchester, and Cumbria as well as how they will work with local organisations to make life better for carers. 

According to the Greater Manchester Health and Social Care Partnership, out of 280,000 carers that are known in Greater Manchester, 70,000 (nearly a quarter) spend 50 hours per week as carers, higher than the national average. 24,800 (c.9%) are young carers aged under 25 which is 2% more than the average in England.

It is estimated that a 5% reduction in the number of carers would result in an additional 17m hours of care being required to be commissioned across Greater Manchester per year. 

Anne Broadhurst, who is a Carer Ambassador at the Trust, has been crucial in helping GMMH develop the Strategy. She said: “I wanted to use my own experiences of being a carer to get involved with shaping mental health services. I know how important it is to be fully included in the person you look after’s care and supported by services both now and in the future.”

Neil Grace, GMMH’s Carer Lead, said: “Our Carers, Family and Friends Strategy has been developed with carers to set out what’s important to them and what they need to support the people they care for. We would like to wholeheartedly thank all those carers, carer groups and forums, who were instrumental in the development of this strategy, giving their time and input.”

“The strategy sets out our ambition to ensure that the contribution of unpaid carers is recognised and valued by all staff – to put the rights of carers on a par with those of the people they care for. Communication with carers will continue throughout the coming months so that they can tell us if progress is being made.”