Carers are crucial both to our communities and to the sustainability of health and social care in Leeds. If Leeds is to be the best city for health and well-being, it needs to be the best city for carers and to be fair, Leeds already has a fine reputation nationally for the way it supports carers, exemplified by:

However, there is still a way to go to ensure that the contribution of carers is fully recognised and valued, and something we can all do is to be clear about what we mean when we use the word carer and make sure that we stop using it when we actually mean something else.  Time after time we see and hear the word ‘carer’ being used incorrectly, most usually to refer to paid care-workers

So let’s be clear what we mean when we use the word carer:

Carers are people who look after a family member, partner or friend who otherwise couldn’t manage without their help because of illness, frailty, disability, a mental health problem or an addiction.  The care that carers provide is unpaid.

Care-workers, on the other hand, are paid professionals who work in a variety of settings, from home care agencies and residential care facilities to nursing homes.

It may not sound like a big ask but making a small change like this can make a huge difference to the way we recognise and value the role and the huge contribution that carers make to life in Leeds.

Ian Brooke-Mawson – Commissioning Programme Lead (Carers), Adults & Health Directorate, Leeds City Council & NHS Leeds Clinical Commissioning Group