Carers look after family; partners or friends in need of help because they are ill, frail or have a disability. The care they provide is unpaid.  This includes adults looking after other adults, parent carers looking after disabled children, and young carers under 18 years of age looking after siblings, parents or other relatives.' (Carers' UK).

  • Do you look after someone?
  • Register as a carer
  • Surrey Carers Strategy 2021-2024: supporting carers in Surrey
  • Supporting Carers in Surrey
  • The Care Act 2014
  • Support and resources for carers
  • Need someone to talk to?
  • Resources and training for health professionals


Do you look after someone?

Do you look after an elderly, frail or disabled friend or relative who could not manage without you? Is this care unpaid?

These carers support leaflets, created by Action for Carers Surrey, provide useful advice and support for carers in Surrey:


Register as a carer 

It is important that everyone at your surgery is aware that you are a carer so that they can provide you with support and help if you need it.

GPs have a responsibility to support and work with you in your caring role but also to help you to maintain your own health. GP practices are required to identify and register all carers who use their practice, so please let your GP know if you are looking after someone.

  • Why Register? There are different types of help and support available to you as a carer. Once you are registered as a carer with your GP, access and referral to schemes and local services becomes much more straightforward.
  • How to Register. To do this simply complete a yellow Carer Registration Form, (or this version if you are under 18) available from your GP surgery, and hand it in at reception.


Surrey Carers Strategy 2021-2024: supporting carers in Surrey

Surrey Heartlands Health and Care Partnership and partners have published the Surrey Carers Strategy 2021 to 2024 which pledges their commitment to improve and develop services to better support unpaid carers. This video describes the approach taken to produce the strategy.

Unpaid carers carry out a vitally important role. People may not see themselves as carers, instead seeing caring as an extension of their family role: daughters, sons, or partners, for example, doing what families and friends do.

The Surrey Carers Strategy 2021 to 2024 sets out values and priorities for the next three years, reaffirming the commitment and determination to help carers continue caring if they are willing and able, and to support their health and wellbeing by achieving outcomes they have identified that matter most to them.

This strategy has been developed in line with ‘Together for Carers’, a memorandum of understanding between health and social care and a wide range of partners to work together to enhance support for carers of all ages. As well as the summary version of the strategy, you can read a full version and an easy read version.


The Care Act 2014

The Care Act 2014 is the biggest change to English adult social care law in over 60 years. Key areas of the act include:

  • General responsibilities on local authorities including promoting people’s wellbeing, focusing on prevention and providing information and advice.
  • The introduction of a consistent, national eligibility criteria.
  • New rights to support for carers, on an equivalent basis to the people they care for.
  • Legal right to a personal budget and direct payment.
  • The extension of local authority adult social care responsibility to include prisons.
  • New responsibilities around transition, provider failure, supporting people who move between local authority areas and safeguarding.

Surrey County Council are working with residents, carers and key partners to keep the residents of Guildford and Waverley informed about the upcoming changes. Further information about the Act is available on the Surrey County Council website.

Carers Support and Resources

A carer is anyone who cares, unpaid, for a friend or family member who due to illness, disability, a mental health problem or an addiction cannot cope without their support. Anyone can be a carer – a 15-year-old girl looking after a parent with an alcohol problem, a 40-year-old man caring for his partner who has terminal cancer or an 80-year-old woman looking after her husband who has Alzheimer's disease. The Surrey County Council Surrey Young Carers Joint Strategic Needs Assessment helps the CCG and our partners understand the needs are of young carers living here in Surrey and what more needs to be done to support them.

Resources for all carers


Are a Surrey-wide service who support all carers through a variety of services including Adult Carers Support, Young Carers Service, Moving and Handling and Giving Carers a Voice.


This website is full of resources for carers in Surrey as well as professionals.


Carer’s Allowance is a benefit for people aged 16 and over who look after someone with substantial caring needs.


Your one-stop-shop for practical information and support for carers. Clear, simple, straight forward advice and support about your caring journey or the journey of a carer you know.


The UK's only national membership charity for carers, Carers UK is both a support network and a movement for change.


Crossroads Care Surrey is the leading provider of respite breaks for carers and the people they care for in Surrey.


If you care for someone who is elderly, frail or disabled, speak to your GP about having a flu jab along with the person you care for.


A step-by-step guide to the practical help, support and advice that's on offer and how to get it, including how to look after someone.


Surrey Council and the NHS have produced a leaflet offering essential information for carers in Surrey.


Provides information to enable people to live more independently. They also offer information for carers such as the GP break service.


An e-learning course that aims to help carers find resources, technologies and support. The course also focuses on how carers can look after themselves in order to prevent caring responsibilities from becoming overwhelming. Learn more about this course on the Carers UK website.


Working across different platforms (online, iOS and Android) and devices, Jointly app is a central place where carers can store important information about the person they are looking after and share this information with other family members who are involved in the care. Jointly combines a number of useful features including group messaging, calendar, task allocation and medication management.


Resources and support for all carers in Surrey


Resources for Adult carers

  Offers, benefits and discounts available exclusively for carers and people with care needs. Parent carers can access specific information including financial support.
  Parent carers can find additional support through Family Voice Surrey. This is a forum for parents to offer a strong, collective voice and network with others.


Young adult carers are young people aged 16–25 who care, unpaid, for a family member or friend with an illness or disability, mental health condition or an addiction.

Resources for young adult carers

  Offers, benefits and discounts available exclusively for carers and people with care needs.
  Young carer and young adult carers in England have the right to information and to an assessment of the support they need from the council. This guide explains what those rights are. It also tells you what should happen when you talk to the council about being a young carer or young adult carer.


A young carer is someone under 18 who helps look after someone in their family, or a friend, who is ill, disabled or misuses drugs or alcohol.

Resources for Young Carers

  Young carer and young adult carers in England have the right to information and to an assessment of the support they need from the council. This guide explains what those rights are. It also tells you what should happen when you talk to the council about being a young carer or young adult carer.
  If you are a young carer and looking after a member of your family there is a site for you, which includes their latest newsletter.
  A useful summary poster to help with learning and raising awareness of young carers.
  Information and resources for those involved in supporting young carers across Surrey.
  Follow on Twitter for updates on how Military Young Carers can access support in Surrey.


Need someone to talk to?

The feelings that carers experience as they go through their caring journey can be some of the most confusing and overwhelming they will ever encounter. For many, family and friends can help 'lend an ear', and can be an invaluable resource in unburdening the carer of the emotional stresses that caring invariably brings; the important thing is for the carer to have access to someone who they can ‘off load’ to.

It’s important to know that there are other options available though. Confidential support offered by the local carers' services is a good place to start but for some, having a professional counsellor maybe a preferred option.

Counselling can help make sense of the role carers have, whether in specific areas such as dealing with bereavement or separation from a loved one, or with the more general feelings of stress, anxiety and depression.

If you are a carer and would like to explore the option of speaking to a counsellor, please speak to your GP in the first instance. Alternatively, the following organisations can provide help and guidance to find a counsellor local to where you live:


Resources and training for health professionals who support carers in Surrey

Employers, teachers, GPs, nurses and other professionals who come into contact with carers and young carers during the working day can get support and training from the Action for Carers Surrey website.


Remember you aren't on your own.

Debbie Hustings, our Partnership Manager for Carers, will be happy to advise. You can email her at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Alternatively, please pick up the phone or drop us an email.



Model Publication Scheme Class: Not part of the MPS

Help and support for you and your family


Our vision is to enable people within Surrey to enjoy the best possible health by commissioning healthcare services that meet local needs. This section of the website provides a list of local patient support groups, services and organisations available to you as a Surrey resident. We want to ensure that local health services meet the needs of our population - which is why we want everyone to get involved in the decision-making process. Please see our How To Get Involved section for more information.




Model Publication Scheme Class: Not part of the MPS

Social Prescribing


Social prescribing, sometimes referred to as community referral, is a means of enabling GPs, nurses and other health and care professionals to refer people to a range of local, non-clinical services. Their health is affected by a wide range of social, economic and environmental factors including employment, housing, debt, social isolation and culture. These factors do not respond to traditional health interventions. 

Social prescribing seeks to address these needs through a variety of activities which are typically provided by voluntary and community sector organisations. Examples include volunteering, arts activities, group learning, gardening, befriending, cookery, healthy eating advice, walking, singing and a range of sports. It is particularly useful for people who need more support with their mental health, have one or more long-term conditions, are lonely or isolated, or have complex social needs that affect their wellbeing. 

There is a growing body of evidence that social prescribing can lead to a range of positive health and wellbeing outcomes. Studies have shown improvements to an individual’s quality of life and emotional wellbeing, mental and general wellbeing and levels of depression, anxiety and loneliness. This has resulted in the reduced use of traditional NHS services such as A&E attendances, outpatient appointments, inpatients admissions or seeking a GP consultation.  

Find study data responding to the question Does social prescribing work? on The Kings Fund website. 


Social Prescribing in action

Together with Music pilot

Elderly residents from Keswick Care Home and children aged 10 and 11 from Eastwick School in Bookham are bridging the gap between generations, using music making to inspire confidence and tackle loneliness, anxiety and isolation.  

The innovative Together with Music pilot, is the result of a collaboration between Mole Valley District Council (MVDC), Surrey Downs Integrated Care Partnership (ICP) and Intergenerational Music Making (IMM). The 6-week pilot follows a time of isolation and has supported those living with dementia and challenging circumstances to create a stronger, healthier, intergenerational local community.   

Each session has been creatively unique, encouraging development and exploration within the music making. This project includes a variety of pre-composed and improvised music making, interactive musical and sensory activities, song-writing, choral singing and musical performances from both the young and old. The sessions, facilitated by senior music therapist Marion Barton, conclude with talking time which gives the young and old an opportunity to establish relationships, share stories and discuss the week ahead. 

The aim of this ground-breaking project is to work towards a national best practice model that can be rolled out across the country.  

Lilian, 97 year old resident, Keswick Care Home said “It’s been wonderful. We’ve been doing all sorts, they’ve been making us laugh and that’s a good thing. They’re lovely children and we’re so pleased that they come and entertain us because that’s what we need, it makes a lot of difference to us.” 

Watch this heart-warming film to discover more about this project

Evaluation of the Together with Music pilot carried out by Intergenerational Music Making  

Intergenerational activities are social engagements and interactions that bring together the older and younger generations for a common purpose. They build on the strengths that different generations have to offer, nurture understanding and mutual respect whilst challenging ageism.   

This evaluation report summarises the delivery of the 6-week pilot project, working with Keswick Care Home and Eastwick School in Bookham. The Together with Music pilot focussed on supporting the mental health and wellbeing of both the young and old through intergenerational music therapy practice. The project aimed to showcase the benefits of intergenerational music therapy practice and successful partnership working across the sectors, demonstrating all bodies striving to create positive change and support both individual and collective wellbeing through music.  

We adopted pre and post questionnaires, thematic analysis of clinical notes, written feedback from professionals and video analysis to further understand the benefits of this project for both generations. Data suggested that the interactions between the generations, supportive behaviours and human connection were key to the participants experience. Themes such as self-agency and self-awareness suggested an increase in confidence, sense of purpose and fulfilment as a result of the group. It emerged from the data that there was an overwhelming positive effect on the mood of all the participants.  

Discover more about Intergenerational Music Making and projects that they are working on. If you’d like to be involved in a project or refer into a Surrey based session, please email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 



Model Publication Scheme Class: Not part of the MPS

Overcoming your needle phobia (fear of needles)


This page explains more about needle phobia and provides practical advice* on how to overcome it. If you have any questions or concerns, please speak to a doctor or nurse caring for you.


What is needle phobia?

Needle phobia is a fear of medical procedures that involve needles or injections. It is very common, affecting at least one in 10 people, and is nothing to be ashamed of. Fortunately, simple exercises and practice can help to overcome it.

Many patients with needle phobia may have had a lot of blood tests or procedures as a child. A fear of needles and injections often, but not always, results from bad memories of needles earlier in life.


What are the signs and symptoms?

For many people, fear of needles is linked to fainting or feeling faint. When the fear is triggered (for example by seeing blood, or thinking about an injection), heart rate and blood pressure increase (as with other kinds of fears), but then rapidly drop. It is this fall in blood pressure that can cause fainting.

Many people do not confront their fear because they are embarrassed. Other people do not feel faint or actually faint, but do feel panicky when their fear is triggered.


What can I do to overcome my fear of needles?

There are a number of things you can do to help overcome your fear.

  • Tell the person who is coordinating your care, giving you your injection or doing a blood test about your worries. They may be able to answer any specific questions you have, and help you cope with the procedure, for example by chatting to distract you. Don’t worry, staff looking after you will not be annoyed or think you are a wimp when you tell them – they would like to know so that they can help to make it easier for you.
  • Think about whether there has been anything which has helped you to cope with needles in the past. Can you use something like this to help you again?
  • If your fear is linked to fainting, or feeling faint, you can learn an applied tension technique (see the next section for more information).
  • If you feel panicky (for example your heart races, your chest feels tight and your stomach churns), but you do not feel faint, you can learn a breathing for relaxation exercise (see the next section for more information).

These exercises are safe in pregnancy and with most medical conditions.

Remember, the needle will not be unbearably painful. It will hurt a little but there are things you can do to help with feeling anxious, such as distracting your thoughts and using relaxation techniques.


Is there anything I can do to help myself?

Applied tension

Applied tension is a simple technique to increase blood pressure back to normal levels so that you do not faint.

This is how you do it.

  1. Sit down somewhere comfortable.
  2. Tense the muscles in your arms, upper body and legs, and hold this tension for 10 to 15 seconds, or until you start to feel the warmth rising in your face.
  3. Release the tension and go back to your normal sitting position.
  4. After about 20 to 30 seconds, go through the tension procedure again until you feel the warmth in your face.
  5. Repeat this sequence so that you have practised the tension five times.


If you can, practise this sequence three times every day for about a week, before moving on to facing your fear.

If you get headaches after doing this exercise, take care not to tense the muscles in your face and head. Also, be careful when tensing any part of your body where you have any health problems.


Breathing for relaxation

Sit in a comfortable position, with your back upright but not stiff. Let your shoulders and jaw relax. Put one hand low down on your belly. Take a long, slow, deep, gentle breath in through your nose and out through your mouth. Try to breathe right down into your belly, but don’t force it. Just let your body breathe as deeply as is comfortable for you. Do this for five breaths.

If possible, practise this exercise three times every day for a week, before moving on facing your fear.


Final steps: facing your fear

Once you have mastered the above exercises, the next step is to start to face your fear of needles. It is important to take one small step at a time! Develop a ‘fear ladder’ – a list of all of the situations related to needles which you fear, arranged in order of difficulty. Put the easier ones at the bottom – like the first rung of the ladder. This might include thinking about procedures involving needles, seeing pictures of them, watching them on TV and in real life, and actually having them done.

Rate each situation on a scale 0 to 10, where 10 is the most difficult and 0 is the easiest. There is an example of a fear ladder below.


Distress rating

Having an injection in my arm   10/10
Holding a needle   9/10
Touching a needle   8/10
Watching someone else having an injection in real life   8/10
Watching someone having an injection on TV or online   7/10
Looking at photos of injections   6/10
Listening to someone talking about having an injection   6/10
Thinking about having an injection   5/10


Tips on creating your fear ladder

To climb your fear ladder you will have to think about, or act out, each step so try to include some situations which are not too difficult. These are the ones you will start with. Think about what makes a difference to how difficult a situation is. For example, you might find it easier to look at a picture of a smaller needle than of a large one.


Tips on climbing your fear ladder

  1. Start with the least difficult item (for example thinking about having an injection, in the table above).
  2. Plan enough time so that you can stay with the fear long enough to feel your anxiety peak, stay on that level for a while, then gradually reduce. Staying with the fear allows you to see how anxiety makes you feel. Remember that anxiety drops on its own over time.
  3. Begin to use the applied tension or breathing exercise.
  4. Go into the feared situation, and stay with it until your anxiety has started to drop.
  5. Take some time to relax, perhaps using the breathing exercise.
  6. When you feel confident with one situation, move up to the next step of the ladder. You may need to practise with one situation a few times before you are ready to move on to the next one.


Overcoming your fear will take some time and practice, but it will make life less stressful and you will feel less anxious.


Key points

  • Don’t be ashamed of being scared of injections – you are not alone.
  • Tell health professionals about your worries.
  • Think about what helps.
  • Learn applied tension technique if you faint or feel very faint, or breathing for relaxation exercise if you feel panicky.
  • Overcome your fear one step at a time.


*Information sourced from a Guide to overcoming your fear of needles from Guy's and St. Thomas' NHS Foundation Trust.




Review Date: 2021-06-17
Review Due: 2022-06-17
Model Publication Scheme Class: Not part of the MPS

Women's and Maternity


Within Surrey Heartlands we aim to achieve sustainable, high-quality physical and mental health care for women and children that meets the wide range of needs in our communities.

We will achieve this through working better together – both the organisations who commission the services and the organisations that provide the services – building on local good practice.

Health and Wellbeing

As well as providing care when required, we want to help people to avoid preventable ill-health. We’ll do this by enabling local people to make the right choices for them and their families through support, information and access to early intervention to stop physical and mental ill health at an early stage.

The NHS Long Term Plan supports this focus on prevention and early intervention. Drawn up by those who know the NHS best – frontline health and care staff, patients and their families and other experts – the Long Term Plan is ambitious but realistic. It will give everyone the best start in life; deliver world-class care for major health problems, such as cancer and heart disease, and help people age well.

If you would like information about supporting you and your family’s health and wellbeing, please visit the Healthy Surrey website.


Looking after your children – useful resources



There are four maternity units in the Surrey Heartlands area. The services provide antenatal, intrapartum (labour and birth) and postnatal care led by a team of Obstetricians and Midwives.

For local Trust maternity information, please see the links below:

Surrey Heartlands was a national early adopter for the national Maternity Transformation Programme and has an ambitious plan in place to guide local service improvement.


Call A Midwife Surrey Advice Line

Surrey Heartlands also plans to give women greater choice, including the creation of a single community midwifery team, a shared home birthing team and the introduction of a shared electronic health record system. The three hospital trusts involved are Ashford and St Peter’s Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, Epsom and St Helier University Hospitals NHS Trust and Royal Surrey County Hospital NHS Foundation Trust.

  • Call A Midwife Surrey Advice Line – 0300 123 5473 or email non urgent questions to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


Other local support and information

Perinatal Mental Health

The aim of the Surrey Perinatal Mental Health Service is to ensure that:

  • Every woman has access to services to support her psychosocial wellbeing as well as that of her infant and her family in order to prevent mental illness during the antenatal period until one year after delivery.
  • Every woman is able to access quality perinatal mental health care and treatment at the right time, at the right level and at the right location

Surrey has a specialist mental health service for women who are planning a pregnancy, are pregnant or have a baby up to 12 months old. It is made up of different professionals including psychiatrists, mental health nurses, psychologists and allied health professionals such as occupational therapists.For more information, please visit the Surrey and Borders Partnership website.


Local support and information

For details about the health visitor advice line, please visit the Children's Health Surrey website.

If you are looking for more information about the local service offer provided by Surrey County Council Children’s Services please visit the Surrey Local Offer website.

The HANDi app is a new mobile phone app that provides advice and support to parents and carers if their children have symptoms of common childhood illnesses. The HANDi App offers simple and straightforward advice on what to do and who to contact when a child is unwell.You can download the FREE HANDi App for Android phones from Google Play or the Apple App Store for iPhones by searching 'Handi app' Paediatric, then selecting ‘Surrey Heartlands’.


Children's Health

Children’s health needs are met by many different organisations across the Surrey Heartlands system. GP’s, health visitors and school nurses are usually a first point of contact for children’s health needs and can signpost into other services if required.

For more information about services provided in Surrey Heartlands, please see the links below: 


Emotional Health and Wellbeing

Surrey County Council, NHS organisations in Surrey as well as the voluntary sector are working together on a major transformation programme across Surrey Heartlands to improve emotional wellbeing and mental health services for children and young people (CYP). The transformation will see a change in services themselves, the way services are accessed, referral processes, as well as a greater use of community assets, such as peer support.

If you would like more information about CAMH services in Surrey Heartlands, there is more information below:


Special Educational Needs and Disability (SEND)

SEND stands for Special Educational Needs and Disability. All schools have a duty to be accessible and inclusive for the children within their community. It is our job to support parents in providing the best possible education for children.

 If you would like more information about Special Educational Needs and Disabilities, please see the following links:



Safeguarding means protecting a citizen’s health, wellbeing and human rights; enabling them to live free from harm, abuse and neglect. It is an integral part of providing high-quality health care.  Safeguarding children, young people and adults is a collective responsibility.

All staff, whether they work in a hospital, a care home, in general practice, or in providing community care, and whether they are employed by a public sector, private, or not-for-profit organisation, have a responsibility to safeguard children and adults at risk of abuse or neglect in the NHS.

please visit the Surrey Safeguarding Children Partnership website.



Review Date: 2021-06-10
Review Due: 2021-11-10
Model Publication Scheme Class: Class 9: Services Commissioned