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The Mid Yorkshire Hospitals NHS Trust, Commended 2013, The E-ON Best for Carers and Eldercare Award

Sector: Healthcare
Location: Yorkshire
Employees: 8,000

Mid Yorkshire Hospitals NHS Trust provides a comprehensive healthcare service across a number of sites in Yorkshire. This includes both hospital and community based care, and consequently employees work in a wide variety of settings and roles. Their unique relationship with their service users has informed the development on the Trust’s approach to carers, and they have been able to create a strategy which encompasses not only employees who are carers, but service users who are as well. Their approach is communal, holistic and sensible.

The Trust has three carers groups which meet on a monthly basis, and it is these which have driven the development of their support for carers. Many attendees of the groups are both employees and service users, and this led the Trust to create a carers strategy which took into account both groups of people. The strategy for carers has been backed up by an organisational commitment to supporting carers, led by a senior board level champion. The needs of carers, and how best to support them are now taken into account through admissions and discharge procedures as well as by managers. An e-learning package is being rolled out to all staff to spread understanding of the particular needs of carers.

Support for carers is demonstrated by organisation wide support through events like National Carers Week, and local carers groups are invited into the organisation to share information and provide advice and help. The Trust has acknowledged the reluctance of employed carers to sometimes reveal that they are caring for someone, and so have developed a carer’s registration scheme to enable people to draw on confidential assistance if they wish.

The significant (and on-going) changes within the NHS have provided both a challenge and an opportunity. The need for cost savings in the NHS has the potential to spill over in a negative way on staff wellbeing, so the Trust has taken a proactive approach to encouraging work-life balance. Carers (and others) are made fully aware of their rights to time off and flexible working arrangements, and within the wider framework of the carer’s and wellbeing strategies of the Trust, it helps to make work sustainable alongside having a caring responsibility.

Jules Preston MBE, Chairman of the Trust and Carers Champion, said: ‘Many different people can have caring responsibilities for a loved one and at Mid Yorkshire we believe it is essential that we provide any such colleagues with as much support and understanding as possible. I am proud that the Trust is being recognised for the support that we provide to colleagues that are also carers as I am confident that this not only makes them better able to care for their loved ones but also to fulfil their varied roles at work.’