The Chesterfield Royal Hospital has signed the Staff Carers’ Charter to mark National Carer’s Rights Day, recognising our commitment to colleagues at the Trust who have caring responsibilities outside of work.

The Royal signed the Carers’ Charter a few years ago that supports the Key Standards the Trust has put in place for Carers. This additional charter recognises that some of those carers will be colleagues that work here who also look after a family member with a physical disability, long term condition, mental health issue or a problem with substance abuse and may need help.

Rebecca Cowley (pictured above, right, with our Chief executive Angie Smithson) is the Royal’s Carer Liaison Officer, she said: “We’ve put a lot of effort into recognising the role that carers play in the treatment and care of our inpatients. This charter aims to do the same for our staff in terms of offering support and advice for those who work here but have additional responsibilities as a carer outside of the hospital.

“Being a carer can really take its toll on an individual and, statistically, three in five people will be a carer at some point in their lives. It’s important to make sure we acknowledge that some of those carers will work here and may need to juggle what they do at work with caring responsibilities elsewhere.

“As a carer, being able to reconcile your work life with caring responsibilities can be difficult so this charter recognises our responsibilities as an employer to help facilitate that. For example we can help line managers to support their teams by being aware of carers’ legal rights and how our own policies and procedures could benefit them.

“But it’s also about further awareness raising, ensuring that people don’t make assumptions about an individual’s capabilities as a carer. It’s about supporting flexible working where appropriate to help colleagues remain in work effectively and to benefit their health and wellbeing by reducing stress and anxiety. By giving teams, managers and individuals the tools to be able to resolve issues related to being a carer enables that individual to take a bit of control back in their lives and make the most of their work life and their own caring responsibilities.”

The original Carers’ Charter ensures that the Royal is committed to working together with the carers of patients receiving treatment at this hospital. It recognises that these carers are in a unique position because they know that patient’s personal needs and requirements on a daily basis and should be included in decisions about their care and treatment. By committing to the Staff Carers’ Charter, the Royal is extending that commitment to its workforce and recognising that a balance between work and personal commitments needs to be made.

Rebecca added: “The charters complement each other very well and a lot of the work that has been done to raise awareness of what a carer is will help our staff to recognise that in themselves. 

“This Trust places a great emphasis on health and wellbeing, recognising that a happy and motivated team is more effective. This charter sits alongside that work and sends out the message that, whether it’s part of Appraisal discussions or regular catch ups, it is something that an individual should feel confident to bring up and talk about with their colleagues.”