Families, friends and carers provide vital support to those with long term health conditions, mental health problems, learning disabilities, addictions and more.

We value the importance of this and recognise that caring can be a rewarding, but also sometimes difficult role and we are here to support you and your wellbeing.

Carers’ rights

Carers play an important role in the support and recovery of people with an illness or disability and have recognised legal rights.

As a carer you are entitled to an assessment of your own needs, which does not judge your ability to care but is a chance to consider your needs. You also have a right to your own care plan, reviewed annually.

In addition to these statutory rights, at Oxleas NHS we also want our carers to feel recognised and supported in their role. Our Carers’ Charter details what families and carers can expect from us, including:

  • To be treated with dignity and respect
  • To be recognised as an important source of information about the person they care for
  • To have their expertise about the service user acknowledged
  • To be listened to and have their views taken into account
  • To feel supported and informed.

Carers can also claim certain benefits such as carer’s allowance if the following applies:

  • You must be 16 years old or over
  • You must look after someone for at least 35 hours a week
  • The person you look after must receive a qualifying disability benefit
  • If you work, you must not have net earnings above £95 a week
  • You must not get certain other benefits
  • You must be living in the UK when you claim Carer's Allowance and satisfy certain residence and immigration rules
  • You must not be a full-time student.

Further information is available on the Benefits for Carers section of the NHS Choices website.

Staying in touch

As a carer you should be given the contact details of the team providing care to your family member or friend, and the name of the person responsible for their care.

If you don’t know who to talk to, check out our Services directory or contact our Patient Advice and Liaison Services

Sharing information

We share as much information as we can about the person you care for. We also welcome any information you can share with us.

The way we share information between service users, carers and staff is based on:

  • Service user wishes
  • Privacy and confidentiality of both carers and service users
  • Best interest of service users

If you and the person you care for have different views on what you need to know we will work through this with you. We have a duty of care to both you and the person you care for.

To find out more, see our confidentiality and sharing information with carers information.

Nearest relative

As a family member carer you may also be the nearest relative and have rights should your relative be detained under the Mental Health Act 1983.

An approved mental health professional will look at the circumstances and decide on who this person is from the patient’s close relatives or partner.

Our Carers’ Charter

If you provide care or support to a friend or family member, our Carers Charter means:

  • Your essential role and expertise is recognised, respected and encouraged  
  • You are given the information and advice that you need to help you provide care  
  • Where possible, you are involved in the planning and agreement of the care plan for the person you support  
  • Your needs are recognised and responded to through a Carers Engagement and Support Plan 
  • You receive appropriate help and support when you need it  
  • You are actively involved in the planning, development and evaluation of services  
  • You know what you are entitled to expect from services


Our Carers’ Strategy

We know the most important thing we can offer carers is good quality care to the people they care for, but it is also essential that we listen and work alongside carers.

Our Carers Strategy 2019-2022 sets out our priorities for the next three years and is a renewed statement of our previous commitment to families and carers.

Our current strategy can be viewed in our online strategies library.

Oxleas_Carers_Strategy_2019-2022.pdf [pdf] 664KB

Support for you

Caring can be rewarding but it can also be very challenging, so it is important that you make time for yourself and access help if you feel you need:

  • Emotional, financial or practical support
  • A listening ear
  • To meet other carers
  • Recognition of your role
  • Involvement in treatment and care planning
  • Time to relax

Carers services can be a lifeline for carers who have difficulty coping. There are both local and national organisations that can offer information, support, advocacy and help to access benefits.

Carers’ support workers

Each borough has a dedicated mental health carers’ support worker, and Oxleas also has a trust-wide Carers' Lead. Any of these workers can be contacted for information, advice and support.

In Bexley
Dee Phillips, Carers Support & Wellbeing Worker
Mind in Bexley and East Kent
Tel: 020 3912 0030
M: 07496 443402

In Bromley
Lucy Blake
Bromley Well
Tel: 07709 520029

Bracton Centre
Dr Michelle Clark
Tel: 01322 297175

National resources

Carers UK campaign for carers’ rights and benefits and has a range of leaflets on carers rights and benefits which can be downloaded from their website. It also provides training for professionals who work with carers.

Carers Trust is a national organisation that provides help and support to carers. It has local carers support branches in most parts of the UK.

Carers Support Bexley is a branch of Carers Trust that provides information and support for carers living in the Borough of Bexley. It also provides respite services to people who have a health problem.

Greenwich Carers Centre is a branch of Carers Trust that provides information and support for carers living in the Royal Borough of Greenwich.  It also provides advocacy service and counselling.

Carers UK Digital Resource brings together a number of digital and online resources to help provide comprehensive information and support for carers.

View more of our strategies in our Oxleas Strategies Library:

we are kind we are fair we listen we care

we’re kind we’re fair we listen we care