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Sue explains the difference a carer friendly GP can make

12 June 2017

Former carer, Sue, tells us how a GP surgery supported her when she was caring for her mum, who had Alzheimer's disease.

"I was with mum when she got her diagnosis and it was a shock, even though I had suspected for a few years that she wasn't well. I didn't know what to do or what would happen in the future. My mum's GP didn't just give us her diagnosis and send us on our way; he was very helpful. He printed off information on Alzheimer's and identified me as a carer, pointing me to support.

Carer friendly example Sue










As time went on the doctor continued to be helpful, allowing me to go into appointments with her and keeping me up-to-date. He was easy to talk to and supportive of my situation as well as mum's.

Once, during an appointment with my own doctor, at a different surgery, it came up in the conversation that I was caring for Mum. They put a note on my records that I was 

a carer. From then on, my GP always asked me how I was and how I was coping. It meant a lot to me and I felt like I was being treated as a person with needs of my own. My surgery understood that caring meant my time was precious and I couldn't drop everything even for a medical appointment.

As many other carers will recognise, I only had a small window of time in which I could get away from my caring role. My surgery always made my appointments urgent so I could get one quickly. It made me feel as though my health mattered too.

If mum's GP hadn't told me about Carers UK, I wouldn't have found the support that I did. Without this advice, I wouldn't have found information, shared experiences and friends on the Carers UK forum.

In some respects, I feel lucky that my experience with our surgery has been so good and I know that not everyone has had the same treatment, neither from the NHS or the wider community. But carers don't want to be 'lucky'; which is why building carer friendly communities is so important. It doesn't matter whether it's a local doctor's surgery, a park or a shop, it makes a world of difference when communities do what they can to make caring that little bit easier.

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