UHMBT launches pioneering Working Carers Policy to support staff and protect their rights
Written by John Williamson on 02/02/2024
University Hospitals of Morecambe Bay NHS Foundation Trust (UHMBT) is breaking new ground by launching its first ever Working Carers Policy to support colleagues who have unpaid caring responsibilities away from work.
The policy has been warmly welcomed by the UHMBT Carers Staff Network as a way of ensuring that colleagues are supported to keep working while fulfilling their caring responsibilities.
A working carer is someone in full or part-time employment, who also provides unpaid support, or who looks after a family member, partner or friend who needs help.
This may be linked to frailty due to old-age or disability. Supporting carers to remain in work by embedding flexible working approaches and effective support structures, brings significant benefits to carers, their families, businesses and the wider community.
The UHMBT Working Carers Policy provides guidance and information about the Trust’s commitment to support working carers to balance their working life and caring responsibilities. It is applicable to everyone working within the Trust, including students and volunteers.
The policy has been written in consultation with the Carers Staff Network and other staff groups. It includes information about Carers Leave, the UHMBT Carers Passport and support information.
The UHMBT Carers Passport is designed to support the conversation about the carer’s needs and any reasonable workplace adjustments between an individual and their line manager.
Francesca Higgins, Strategic Lead for Inclusion in the People and Organisational Development Department at UHMBT said: “It is great news that the Trust has taken this progressive step to support working carers.
“The UK is facing a significant skills gap, at the same time as the demographics of the workforce mean that the numbers of workers aged 50 to 65 are increasing. This will mean that there will be increasing numbers of people in the workforce balancing work and caring responsibilities.
If we are unable to support them in the workplace, we risk losing skilled and experienced colleagues from our Trust. It is therefore essential that UHMBT supports our working carers through periods of caring so that we can retain our best talent and ensure that people can continue to work sustainably.
”Ingrid Kent, Chair of the UHMBT Carers Staff Network, said: “Everyone in our Carers Staff Network is hugely appreciative of the fact that the Trust has listened to carers and has launched its first Working Carers Policy.
It is vitally important to the NHS and wider society that valued colleagues can continue to work while also fulfilling their caring responsibilities.
This is an incredibly progressive step and we are one of very few organisations in the UK to have such a policy.
”Tabetha Darmon, Executive Lead for the Carers Staff Network and Chief Nursing Officer for UHMBT, said: “UHMBT has made a commitment to carers through the launch of the Working Carers Policy, and to give the recognition and support that carers need to provide invaluable support for their loved ones.
“As the Carers Network Executive Lead, I welcome this policy and am proud of our staff who are compassionate, kind and flexible within our decision-making processes for the benefit carers.”