For the start of Carers Week (June 6-12) Healthwatch Kirklees has announced a new initiative to make sure carers are easily identified and supported in health and care services.

Healthwatch Kirklees is working in partnership with local organisations to launch an unbranded lanyard and card for carers to use in any health or care service. 

The organisations supporting the initiative include: Locala; Mid Yorkshire Hospitals NHS Trust; Calderdale & Huddersfield NHS Foundation Trust; South West Yorkshire Partnership NHS Foundation Trust; Kirklees Council; My Health Huddersfield & Curo Health; and Carers Count & Carers Wakefield.

Healthwatch Kirklees heard from one of its volunteers, Lynne, who is also an unpaid carer, that she is often questioned about why she is attending appointments with the person she cares for.

Lynne also she feels that her caring role is not being recognised by many staff, which leaves her feeling unsupported.

Healthwatch Kirklees spoke with other carers and community partners about this and there was unanimous support for the idea of providing carers with a lanyard and card, in order to make them instantly visible when attending healthcare settings, in their carer role.

It will also enable carers to be signposted to other sources of community support, including their local carer organisation.

In a survey 81% of carers liked the idea of having the lanyard and another carer said: “I can definitely relate to Lynne’s story.

“The ‘who are you and why are you here?’ question in health settings is always awkward. ‘Sorry, my husband is vision impaired. He needs me with him!’

“It would be easier if someone could instantly recognise me as a carer so that I don’t have to explain or justify my presence at appointments.”

The launch is currently only taking place in Kirklees but the ambition is that the idea will eventually be adopted across the whole of West Yorkshire.

To request a lanyard or card please contact Healthwatch Kirklees on 01924 450379, e-mail or use the contact form on the website