Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 20 December 2014

Carers 'facing depression risk'

Reginald Crew, 74, with wife Win, at their home in Hunt's Cross, Merseyside. Mr Crew, said he had been crippled and robbed of his dignity by motor neurone disease.   *  The former docker and car worker is so tired of the constant agony that he plans to join Dignitas, a Zurich-based organisation which helps people to kill themselves. Mr Crew, who is married and has a grown-up daughter, heard about Dignitas on a TV documentary. He said "I watched this documentary and thought  This is my last chance'. Getting this would be the best gift I could hope for. It is the only chance I have left."  20/01/03 Motor neurone disease sufferer Mr Crew, who flew to Switzerland to end his life at an assisted suicide clinic, died at 2.04pm UK time, a spokesman for the clinic said.
Carers should be routinely screened for depression and mental health problems, doctors' leaders say

Carers should be routinely screened for depression and mental health problems, doctors' leaders say.

The Royal College of General Practitioners (RCGP) warned that carers often "neglect" their own healthcare, and found that around 40% experience depression or psychological problems.

Holding routine appointments and maintaining a carers' register within GP practices could solve the "hidden" problem and prevent the £119 billion carers save the public purse being lost, the RCGP added.

Dr Clare Gerada, RCGP chairman, said: "Carers often neglect their own healthcare needs and in many cases it is only a matter of time before they themselves become ill.

"They are at risk physically and emotionally with stress-related illnesses but it can be hard for them to admit that they are struggling."

She told BBC Breakfast: "Unfortunately at the moment as with the rest of the health service, GPs are heaving under the workload and what this report is saying is that we have to target resources where they are most needed and they are most needed with carers.

"There are serious problems going on at the moment across the whole of the NHS but in particular in general practice, but what we mustn't do is forget the hidden group of those that need most care which carers are most certainly part of."

Dr Gerada said that the UK's seven million carers are a "critical asset" which need investment as "they already save the public purse £119 billion a year".

She said: "If carers fall ill you lose two patients. You lose the person they are caring for and also the carer so it makes financial sense to keep carers well."

The RCGP has drawn up a nine point checklist as part of new online guidance which also includes appointing a carers "champion" in all GP surgeries, and carrying out audits to measure improvements in carer support.

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