Helpline for Devon carers offers proper support

PUBLISHED: 16:34 06 October 2011




Ottery St Mary GP backs one-stop helpline for carers in Devon

AN Ottery St Mary doctor is backing a new one-stop helpline for carers in Devon.

As part of a £1.3 million investment by Devon County Council and NHS Devon

A telephone helpline has been launched, as part of the new Devon Carers Centre, to give carers better access to support to help them stay healthy and live a normal life outside of caring.

Dr Simon Kerr, an Ottery GP, said: “The new service will make it easier for GPs as they will be able to have a single point to access practical support and short breaks for carers.

“Many carers do not need support from health and social care, but the support the Virtual Devon Carers Centre will be able to offer, at an early stage, will make a big difference.”

The helpline is run by voluntary organisation Westbank, working closely with other carers’ voluntary groups, who will also provide support in their local area.

Carers can access a network of local carers’ support workers, have the chance to meet other carers in their area for mutual support and friendship, and get short carers breaks.

The new helpline (08456) 434 435 is open from 8am to 6pm Monday to Friday and on Saturdays from 9am to 1pm.

Sonia Barton, a carer and trustee of Westbank, said: “I cannot emphasise enough how important it is for carers to ensure look after themselves, and it is great that the new Virtual Devon Carers Service will offer this from January next year.

“The new service should ensure that carers are properly supported when they take on a really difficult job that helps society a great deal.”

A website will be launched shortly at

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