Information for carers

A carer is anyone, including children and adults who looks after a family member, partner or friend who needs help because of their illness, frailty, disability, a mental health problem or an addiction and cannot cope without their support. The care they give is unpaid.

At Cambridgeshire and Peterborough NHS Foundation Trust, we value the often life-long support carers provide and recognise them as equal care partners. We want to offer as much guidance and reassurance as possible, to help you in your caring role. You can find general information and support for adult carers, young carers and parent carers by following this link

In the Primary Care Mental Health Service (PCMH), our job is to help adults with mental health conditions referred by GPs find the help they need. Sometimes this may be through referring on to the Community Mental Health Teams (Locality Teams) also provided by Cambridgeshire and Peterborough NHS Foundation Trust (CPFT), which specialises in the care and treatment of people with severe mental health conditions.

For other people, we may only meet once, and this means that we want to make the best possible use of every appointment and “make every contact count”.

A key part of this is making sure carers are supported in the crucial work that they do. Anyone who provides unpaid support – partner, parent, child, relation, friend, or work colleague – is an informal carer.

And we know that carers want three main things:

  • The best possible support and treatment for their loved one
  • Their own needs to be met
  • And to know how best to support their loved one.

This information is about further support for carers.

Sources of help

If your loved one is receiving ongoing services from CPFT, they will have a named care co-ordinator, who will want to hear from you about your concerns and help you play a part in your loved one’s care.

Between 9am-5pm, Monday to Friday, your first point of contact should be the care co-ordinator or named nurse. If they are not available, ask to speak to the clinician on duty.

It may be that after seeing someone from PCMH, your loved one is getting help from a voluntary sector organisation, from their GP alone or through other means. In these situations, the following can help:

In any mental health emergency, you are advised to call 111 and press option 2 for the First Response Service which is run by CPFT and is always open. This team is ready to hear from carers, to listen to their concerns and to agree a plan of action in situations which can sometimes be tense.

Carers’ rights

In CPFT we recognise that family members and friends are able to provide important information that may help staff gain a better understanding of the needs of service users. We know that to be a carer you need to be well informed to be able to provide the essential support that service users need, and that being supported in your caring role is important to maintain your own health and wellbeing.

The Care Act 2014 acknowledges that family carers need to be better supported to continue in their caring role. Local councils and health organisations are now required to promote the wellbeing of all carers, ensure that information, advice and support is available, and to prevent, reduce or delay unpaid carers reaching a crisis point. The Care Act 2014 legally entitles all carers to a carer assessment if they would like one. You are also able to request a review of your needs at any time should your circumstances change.

To get a carer’s assessment in Peterborough, the carer should be referred (or can self-refer) to or call 01733 747474 option 4 for a carer assessment.

To get a carer’s assessment in Cambridgeshire the carer should be referred to or call 01480 373440 for a carer assessment. For a self-referral, call 0345 045 5202, or e-mail

The Children and Family Act 2014 entitles all young carers under the age of 18 to a Young Carers Needs Assessment. Young carers approaching their eighteenth birthday are entitled to a Young Adults Transition Assessment. The aim of this assessment is to help young carers consider what support they need for the future. These services are provided by Centre 33.

This information has been compiled by carers and staff.

A Word version of the information above is available to download here:  PCMHS carers leaflet Nov 2021.docx 900KB

As a patient

As a patient, relative or carer using our services, sometimes you may need to turn to someone for help, advice, and support. 

Patient Advice and Liaison service  Contact the Trust