Torbay Carers Strategy Consultation 2024


Caption: Service user. Young woman being taught how to flower arrange at the day centre. Member of staff/ teacher.

Click here to read the Torbay Carers Strategy Report 24

According to the 2021 Census there are over 15,000 people in Torbay who provide unpaid care for a friend or relative. Every three years, Torbay Carers’ Strategy is updated and coproduced by Torbay and South Devon NHS Foundation Trust, Torbay Council, voluntary and community sector partners and most importantly in consultation with Carers across the Bay. The strategy, or plan, aims to meet the needs of Carers in Torbay.

To help shape Torbay Carers’ Strategy, Torbay Carers’ Service, with input from Carers, devised a survey to find out how support could be improved for Carers in Torbay. They commissioned Engaging Communities South West, working in partnership with Healthwatch Torbay, to independently analyse the survey data and produce this report.

The survey ran from 30th October 2023 to 11th December 2023 (6 weeks) and 377 Carers responded to the survey during that time.

Key Findings

1. The top three things that Carers said would make the biggest difference to improve their caring situation were:

  • Improved communication with Carers – checking in, responding to need, providing clear advice and information.
  • Quicker and easier access to healthcare services.
  • More support for the person they care for and themselves so that they feel able to cope in their caring role, both mentally and physically.

2. The most common issues identified by Carers were:

  • Help and support,
  • Communication with health and social care professionals, and
  • Someone to check in / talk to them.

3. Nearly two thirds of Carers (63%) who responded to the survey selected their GP/ Doctors’ Practice as the place where they felt they could have been identified as a Carer sooner and the place where most Carers said efforts to identify Carers sooner should be focused.

4. There is a lack of awareness and recognition of the role of unpaid Carers amongst Carers themselves. Carers suggested that more needs to be done to raise awareness of the role of unpaid Carers, using real life experiences of the day-to-day situations that people are faced with, to help unidentified Carers to recognise themselves in that role and to seek registration or access support where necessary.

5. The services that Carers find most useful are the Signposts Newsletter and the Signposts Information Service. However, the results also show that many Carers are unaware of the services available to them and some suggested that health and social care professionals also need to be more aware, so that they can signpost Carers to the right support. Carers also suggested that Torbay Carers’ Services could be more proactive in providing information to Carers to make them aware of the support available to them.

6. Many Carers had high praise for the quality of service they had received from Torbay Carers’ Services. Where comments were negative, this mostly related to a lack of awareness around what services are available to Carers and difficulties accessing Carers’ support services. For example, Carers who work, Carers who are unable to leave the house and Carers who live outside Torbay but care for someone who lives in Torbay.

7. Almost half of the Carers who responded to the survey (49%) are caring for someone who is experiencing mental health issues. Of those, more than two thirds (68%) said they felt either ‘not at all’ or ‘not very’ supported, compared to less than a third (32%) who felt either ‘slightly’, ‘well’ or ‘very well’ supported.

8. More than a third (37%) of the total number of Carers who responded to the survey said they had either sought help or would be seeking help with their finances.

9. Suggestions as to how Carers’ Services could be improved include:

  • More peer support / face to face support groups.
  • More information and contact with Carers about what support is available to them.
  • Better signposting to support and advocacy, particularly for Carers who feel isolated and overwhelmed.


Click here to read the Torbay Carers Strategy Report 24