Care services minister Ivan Lewis has urged carers to pressure the British Medical Association over GPs’ reluctance to do more to address carers’ health needs.
Speaking at the first national carers summit in London yesterday, organised by charity Carers UK, Lewis agreed with delegates that something needed to be done to challenge GPs’ behaviour towards patients with caring responsibilities.
He said that the government wanted to take action on this and believed that addressing up carers’ health needs was no more than good practice. However, he added that discussions with the BMA about this always ended up turning to the issue of more money.
“GPs are already incentivised to take note of the needs of carers,” he said. “But the reality is that they simply do not do it. There is a big difference between having a list of people who are carers and actually doing anything about it.
“By all means, continue pressuring us on this. But please also put pressure on the professional organisations that represent doctors, telling them that you expect them to do more for carers than they have in the past.”
Lewis added that it was no longer acceptable for professionals not to treat carers as equal partners when it comes to making decisions about the person they care for.
“The excuse often used is ‘what about when there’s a difference of opinion between the cared for and the carer?’,” Lewis said. “But 94% of the time, the carer and cared for person want exactly the same thing. So this is a cop out. We have to change the culture.”
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