An initiative has been set up by doctors surgeries in Stevenage to help support unpaid carers.

The Carers’ Champion Peer Support Group is made up of surgery staff who will share information to help people make the most of support services available.

Members will be trained to make sure other surgery staff are aware of their needs and know how to refer them for support and advice if requested from Carers in Hertfordshire – a charity which supports people who voluntarily look after their family or friends.

The group is also piloting a new partnership with pharmacies to stock forms and distribute them to the community, as well as shops and businesses in the surrounding area.

Wendy Darnell is the group’s chairman and a receptionist for The Health Centre, run by the Stanmore Medical Group in Stanmore Road.

She said: “Previously if carers were registered at one surgery but the person they cared for was registered elsewhere they would have to fill out two separate forms as each surgery had their own. Now there is just one form which can be dropped off at any surgery.

“People don’t see themselves as carers, they just fall into the role and never come forward for help. By enlisting the support of pharmacies we hope to be able to refer more carers for support.”

Pharmacist Radeep Aggarwal, of Stearns Pharmacy in Stevenage High Street, said: “The majority of carers go straight to their pharmacist and are often not seen by their surgery.

“We frequently deal with both the carer and the medication of the person being cared for so are best placed to identify carers. Now we can refer them for the support they so badly need.”

For more, contact your surgery’s dedidcated carer champion or call Carers in Hertfordshire on 01992 586969.