Dorset GP practices provide ‘better care for carers’

10th November 2023

A group of local GP practices have been honoured for the work they do to support patients who are unpaid carers.

They’ve been recognised as part of the Better Care for Carers (BCFC) accreditation scheme – a joint project led by Dorset HealthCare working in partnership with Mid Dorset Primary Care Network (PCN).

The scheme aims to showcase and celebrate practices which have met set criteriaBetter Care for Carers event.jpeg deemed important to carers. These include having a named carers lead, maintaining an up-to-date carers register, providing clear information, making the surgery accessible with flexible appointments and improving carer awareness among staff via training. 

Nine GP practices in mid-Dorset (Dorchester and the surrounding area) took part in the scheme and were awarded bronze, bronze plus, silver and gold awards depending on the services they offer.

The practices awarded and recognised as part of the scheme included:

  • Bronze award: The Atrium Health Centre, and Portesham Surgery.
  • Bronze plus: Fordington Surgery, Poundbury Doctors, Prince of Wales Surgery, Milton Abbas Surgery and Queens Avenue Surgery.
  • Silver: Cerne Abbas Surgery.
  • Gold: Puddletown Surgery.

The scheme was managed by Harriet Stevens, Dorset HealthCare’s Carers Engagement Facilitator for GP Practices. She said:

“The practices have worked incredibly hard over the past year. In mid-Dorset we have seen real change and improvement, not only in identification of carers and the percentage of them accessing support from their GP, but in their own accounts and experiences of using these services.

“It has been a pleasure to work with such passionate and enthusiastic people to develop creative, proactive and innovate approaches to supporting this vulnerable group of our patient population.”

The scheme works in partnership with carers, so that their views are heard. Christine Carter from Puddletown is a carer, and was a member of the steering group which supported the scheme. She said:

“I have benefitted hugely from being part of the Better Care for Carers scheme panel, which has brought the importance of carers to the foreground. Knowing that the surgery and doctors are there for me, to support and listen when I need their help means so much. It also encourages me to carry on with a light heart and a lot of love.”

Carer Amanda Watson, also from Puddletown, has shared about her involvement in the Better Care for Carers project and the difference good support from a GP can make in the short video clip below.

Claire Stickland, Practice Manager of Puddletown Surgery, added:

“The Better Care for Carers scheme has had a big impact on how we work at the surgery with patients, and also staff, who are carers. It’s been powerful to hear from carers about the positive impact that good care and support has had on them, not only for their own health and wellbeing but also their ability to continue providing care to their loved one.”

Practices in mid-Dorset will be able to aim for higher levels year on year, and the aim is to roll the scheme out to other parts of Dorset to share good practice.

For more information about the scheme and how your surgery can support unpaid carers, please contact

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