DOH – How can we improve support for carers?

Informal carers (also called unpaid carers) are people who look after family members, friends, neighbours or others because of long-term physical or mental ill health or disability, or care needs related to old age. This does not include any activities as part of paid employment.

Carers freely give their time and energy to support friends or family members and many rightly take pride in providing essential support for those close to them. Caring for others should not be to the detriment of the carer’s own health and wellbeing and carers can receive support in a number of ways – including from social services, the NHS, or the benefit system.

We think that we need a new strategy for carers setting out how we can do more. One which reflects their lives now, the health and financial concerns they have, and gives them the support they need to live well whilst caring for a family member or friend.

To help us develop the strategy, we want to hear from carers, those who have someone care for them, business, social workers, NHS staff and other professionals that support carers.

It’s a simple question but it can have a lot of different answers – how can we improve support for carers? 

Go straight to the survey

If you would like to submit a separate response, or if you have any questions about this call for evidence, please contact us at

The NHS Choices website has more information about the support for carers available here and if you want to talk to someone about what options are available to you, you can also call the Carers Direct helpline on 0300 123 1053.