What does your Identification and Support for Carers (Primary Health Care) Bill contain?
The main aim of the Private Member's Bill is to require GPs and primary healthcare teams to take account of carers' needs in areas such as the way they allocate appointments and their prescripton procedures. I want GPs to identify carers in their practice populations so they can consider their needs and give the most committed ones regular health checks.
What are your concerns?
Research conducted by the Princess Royal Trust for Carers shows some people have real problems going to the doctor. In the end, their health suffers because they just don't make appointments.
The particular concern I have is for the health of the most committed carers - those who care for more than 50 hours a week. Research shows that it's having an impact on their health. This is something GPs and primary healthcare teams are best placed to spot because they can make sure it doesn't get to the point where the carer collapses. Research also shows that, because of their situations, carers can often ignore their own health.
What problems do carers have?
Timing can be difficult if people have to organise alternative care. There are also problems if the only way people can attend is with the cared-for. If they attend with an autistic child, for example, he or she cannot wait in a waiting room. And if the doctor is running late, you couldn't sit there with an autistic child for an hour because he or she wouldn't sit there for that long.
When is the Bill's second reading?
It is on 14 July.
What response have you received?
We received cross-party support for the Bill straight away.