Support for carers

Who cares for the carer?

On this page you will find links to resources ranging from support groups for carers and looking after yourself, through to advice on housing and welfare. Registering as a carer at your GP surgery can be helpful.

  • Flexible appointments
  • Your GP will monitor your health more closely, as they will be more aware of your caring commitments and any associated health problems.

If your loved one is registered with a team at CPFT, they will be able provide information on how you can best support your loved one and how to access support, such as a carers assessment.

Self-referral service for informal carers

CPFT's Psychological Wellbeing team has launched a new self-referral service. Carers can self-refer online here or by telephoning 0300 300 0055. Alternatively, they can discuss a referral with their GP. The team offers short-term, evidence-based psychological treatment for common mental health difficulties, such as stress, anxiety, low mood and depression.  All the treatments on offer are recommended by The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE). 

Support and information for carers

Carers assessment

At Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Foundation Trust, we believe that carers and family members are part of the Triangle of Care working in partnership with the clinician and people who are receiving care. We recognise that family members and close friends are able to provide important information that may help doctors, nurses, social workers and therapists to have a better understanding of the needs of service users / patients. We know that to be a carer you need to be well informed to be able to provide the essential support that service users  / patients need, and that being supported in your caring role is important to maintain your own health and well being. 

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. 

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.

We work closely with our colleagues at Cambridgeshire County Council and Peterborough City Council, Caring together, Making Space, Family Voice, Pinpoint and Centre 33 to ensure that everybody gets support. More details about the All Age Carer Support service can be found here. Anybody can refer a carer for support to Caring Together (all carers),  Making Space (carers of people who are between the age of 18 and 65 with a mental health challenge) or Centre 33 (young carers under the age of 18). The referral forms can be found at  Caring Together and at Making Space

The clinical team providing treatment for the cared for person will be able to provide carers with information about how best to support the cared for person as well as being able to identify who is responsible for completing the carers assessment.

If the cared for person is accessing adult specialist mental health or older people's mental health services please click on the link below for more details about who is responsible for completing a carers assessment. 
CarersassessmentsASMHandOPMH.pdf [pdf] 182KB  

If the cared for person is accessing older people's and community services (physical health) please click on the link below for more details about who is responsible for completing a carers assessment
CarersassessmentsPhysicalHealth.pdf[pdf] 167KB

Caring Together referral form
Caring Together Referral Form.docx[docx] 81KB

Making Space referral form
Making Space Referral Form.docx[docx] 78KB


The aim of this page is to provide training resources for people who are informal carers. The information is based on recommendations from the organisations and individuals that Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Foundation NHS Trust works with to increase awareness of the needs of carers. As more courses are established we will add them to this webpage.

Caring for people with Psychosis and Schizophrenia

Caring Together Virtual Carer Clinics

Caring Together Carer Clinics provide the opportunity to receive one-to-one support and tailored information to your specific caring circumstances. These clinics are available on the following Saturday mornings, between 10.00 AM and 1.00 PM with each appointment lasting 50 minutes. If you would like to book a time to speak to one of our care advisers, please call us on 0345 241 0954 or email us at

Saturday 7th November

Saturday 5th December

Saturday 9th January

Saturday 6th February

Saturday 6th March  

Mindfulness for carers of people with dementia.

Consent and confidentiality

Consent and confidentiality 
AT CPFT we believe that carers and family members should be seen as working in partnership with those who provide clinical services. They provide important information that may help doctors, nurses, social workers and therapists to have a better understanding of the needs of service users. In order to be effective, partners, carers and family members need clear information about the service user’s care and treatment, their medication, potential side effects and any circumstances that may put the service user at risk. Confidential health-related personal information is shared between care professionals, such as doctors and nurses involved in a service user’s care, so that they get the safest and highest possible quality clinical care. In addition, staff need to include carers in the extended care and support team. A carer’s role requires them to be well informed so they can provide the essential support that service users need. Effective care and better clinical outcomes rely on this three-way partnership (Triangle of Care) between people who experience mental health problems, their families and carers, and our staff. Downloadable leaflets are available (at the bottom of this page) for Adult Specialist Mental Health Services and for the Older People's and Community Directorate. 

Who is a carer?

‘Carers are people who provide help and (unpaid) support to a family member, friend or neighbour who would otherwise not be able to manage. We use the term ‘carer’ in its broadest sense to include the most significant people in the life of the service user, including spouses, parents and young carers. It is also important to note that the carer is not always the “nearest relative”. The term “nearest relative” is defined in the Mental Health Act. The person they care for may have a physical or learning disability, dementia, mental health problems, may misuse drugs or alcohol or may be ill or frail.’

Young carers are children and young people who often take on practical and/or emotional caring responsibilities that would normally be expected of an adult. Informal carers must be given enough knowledge to enable them to provide effective care from an early stage. Carers should be given the opportunity to talk to staff about any difficulties they are experiencing in their caring role.

Duty of confidentiality

Service users have a right to expect that information about them will be held in confidence. Carers can expect that the information they provide will be held in confidence by the professional care team. Crucial to this process is the building and maintaining of trust between service users, professionals and carers. This is the foundation of good care.

Duty to share information

Doctors, nurses and other members of the care team have a duty to share information about the care, treatment, medication and other important information about a person’s health, in order to provide the safest and best clinical care possible. This means that sharing information must be discussed with service users early on in their care. If there are difficulties in sharing information that is crucial to care, this should be seen as a major problem that requires intensive work. Even when there are problems with confidentiality, this should not be used as a reason for not listening to carers or for not discussing fully with patients the need for their carers to receive information and support. Furthermore, this must be done when service users do give consent for information to be shared.

Consent to share information

Confidential information about a service user should only be shared with their explicit permission. If the service user doesn’t give permission, confidential information can only be disclosed in exceptional situations, such as where the health and wellbeing of the service user, or another person, is at serious risk. Confidential information might also be disclosed where there is a public interest or legal reason for disclosure without consent. In the absence of consent, it is good to share non-confidential information with carers. The care team should always revisit a service user’s refusal to share information with their carers. The support carers can offer is invaluable in supporting an individual’s recovery.

The care team should seek to understand the reasons why a service user may be declining to share information. The best outcome is always that they do agree to share at least some information.  Detailed documentation of any conversation relating to consent and family or carers is imperative. Many service users often agree to share information with carers when their condition improves. Any decision made must always be in the best interest of the service user and to achieve the best possible outcome for them. The provision of general information about mental illness, emotional and practical support does not breach confidentiality. General information can include information about the condition and behaviour it may cause, advice on managing it, particularly in a crisis, and contact details of the team responsible for the service user / patient’s care.

Principles of Best Practice

Staff should seek a service user's views on sharing information with informal carers / family as early as possible. This will usually be during assessment or admission.  This is the time when it is most likely the service user will refuse permission. This may be because they are very unwell, feel betrayed by their carer, or are angry about the carer’s role in their assessment or possible detention.

There needs to be a clear understanding that sharing information will need to be re-visited during the care episode. Regular review of the situation by the care team is essential. The care team should always seek to understand the reasons why a service user may be declining to share information.

Even if permission to share information is refused at this point, staff must still give general information about mental illness and treatment options, discuss the carer’s concerns or fears and signpost them to carer support services. If permission is given to share information with the carer, it is essential that it is shared.

Any decision made must be in the best interest of the service user and to achieve the best possible outcome for them. It is essential that staff explain how and why the decision to breach consent is in their best interest.

The carer may need help and support to understand their relative’s decision to exclude them. Deciding what information is general and what is personal will be a clinical judgement in each case.

The same principle of confidentiality applies to information given by carers. Staff must clarify the carer’s expectations as to who the information can be shared with.

Where the service user withholds consent or lacks capacity and cannot express their wishes clearly, personal information will only be shared on a strictly ‘need to know’ basis.

Further information

Common sense confidentiality.pdf [pdf] 632KB

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