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The importance of registering as a carer with your GP

Caring for someone with dementia can be exhausting and overwhelming – physically, emotionally and financially. But support is available. Registering as a carer with your GP is one way to access this support.

If you register as a carer with your GP, it will enable them to support you in your caring role. What is offered varies between practices, but it often includes:

  • free annual health checks
  • the annual flu jab and Covid-19 boosters as advised
  • access to a ‘Carer’s Champion’ who can support you in your caring role
  • support with your physical and mental health to enable you to carry out your caring responsibilities
  • general information and advice about being a carer
  • signposting to other services that could help, such as support groups, day centres and respite care for the person you look after
  • flexibility with booking doctor’s appointments for you and the person you care for – for example, if both you and the person with dementia need to see the GP, booking appointments back-to-back so you do not have to visit the surgery twice
  • help with prescriptions, such as having them delivered to your home
  • a referral to your local council to see if you qualify for a ‘carer’s break payment’, allowing you to take some time out if your caring role is affecting your health
  • help with care planning for the person with dementia
  • support with applying for assessments and benefits such as the carer’s assessment, Carer’s Allowance and Blue Badge parking

All GP practices have a carers’ register – a list of patients who are providing unpaid care to someone with a long-term health condition. You can speak to the receptionist or practice manager to request a registration form.

Alternatively, Carers UK has produced a template letter that you can complete and send to your GP.

Once you have told your GP that you are a carer, they can add this information to your patient record and help you to start getting the support you need.

Some GP practices have a separate register for young carers, so if a child or teenager under the age of 18 is helping to care for a person with dementia, it is a good idea to ask if this is available.

You do not have to register as a carer with your GP to access support and benefits such as a carer’s assessment, young carer’s assessment or Carer’s Allowance. However, if you do register, you may be offered support with these applications and assessments.