On Tuesday 22 November, Primary Integrated Community Services became the first organisation in Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire to be awarded the Carer-friendly Quality Mark as both an employer and service provider.

The two special accolades were presented by the Nottinghamshire Carers Association (NCA) to PICS as an employer and to PICS Care Navigation Team, for their ‘innovative and impactful’ work to identify and support Carers, recognising ‘a significant increase in the number of Carers coming forward and getting the support they’re entitled to.”

Primary Integrated Community Services (PICS) employs over 400 healthcare staff who provide health and wellbeing care in the community to the residents of Nottinghamshire, on behalf of the NHS.

The PICS Care Navigation team works with residents living with long term conditions who are registered to GP Surgeries in Broxtowe (Eastwood, Stapleford, Kimberley and Beeston) and Mid Nottinghamshire (Ashfield, Mansfield, Newark and Sherwood). They support citizens to manage their condition, remain independent and avoid hospital admissions. 

NCA’s Stephanie Smith and Jayne Davies presented the award to mark Carer’s Rights Day. Stephanie highlighted ‘a significant increase in the number of Carers coming forward and getting the support they’re entitled to.” Jayne thanked the team for “a very positive and engaging experience of working with them” during the project.

Stephanie Smith, NCA’s Health Liaison Worker, said: “Many Carers miss out on support that can make a real difference. The PICS team has enhanced their compassionate and empathetic service by adding Carers to the Carers register, ensuring they get support they are entitled to. With their innovative and impactful approach, I am confident that they will never miss an opportunity to identify a Carer.” 

PICS Deputy Directors, Dr Paul Scullard and Karen Frankland, members of the Care Navigation team, Carer Champions and staff from across PICS attended the event. PICS now holds three Carer-friendly Quality Marks, following the award to Social Prescribing Service in June 2022, and aims for more. 

The ceremony was part of the UK’s annual Carers’ Rights Day which is highlighting the Costs of Caring. Research shows 12,000 people in the UK become carers every day. That’s roughly 500 people an hour, and 8 people a minute. It is estimated by Carers UK that there were nearly 190,00 Carers within Nottinghamshire in 2021 (Carers UK, 2021). 

Tracey Rowles, PICS Care Navigator for Mansfield Primary Care Network.

Case study:

In October 2022, an elderly patient living in Mansfield started to receive end of life care. Their GP raised the case with a team of clinicians and care coordinators who work together to provide the best care for their patients.

Tracey Rowles, a Care Navigator in the team, identified that the patient’s daughter was the Carer and that she may struggle with her loved one’s deteriorating condition. Tracey called the patient’s daughter who consented to being registered as a Carer in her GP records, and also agreed to be referred to the local social prescribing service for more support.

Tracey said: “The lady’s Carer’s status is now known, and she will be offered appropriate support, like flu jabs, in the future. She will also receive support from a social prescriber to ensure she can continue to care for her mother. She was very grateful for the telephone call and thanked the team for highlighting the service of social prescribing to her.”

The awards follow a rigorous process in which PICS staff demonstrated their commitment to carers by attending training, making pledges and acting upon these, accessing resources, and promoting Nottinghamshire Carers Hub. They also recruited and connected with Carers Champions in medical practices and across services within PICS, providing signposting to support and referral to the local Carers Hub. 

Jayne Davis, Employer Liaison Worker, said: It is my delight to recognise the amazing work from PICS to support Carers. I want to thank the team at PICS for the very positive and engaging experience of working with them.

“Carers in employment often don’t want to come forward. PICS have looked carefully at how they identify Carers, thought about how to encourage them to come forward, and how to tell them about the support available to them. They offer special leave, provides a Carer’s passport and support a Carer Champion Network, for example.”

Nottinghamshire Carers Association works with organisations, education providers and health and social care professionals to raise awareness of unpaid Carers, their needs and entitlements, and how to best support them. 

Dr Paul Scullard, local GP, Clinical Director of Eastwood neighbourhood, and Deputy Medical Director of PICS said: “It’s wonderful to see the recognition of the work the Care Navigation teams do supporting patients, their Carers and family. I witness daily the impact of their interventions and they are frequently life changing for patients and families.”


Dr Thilan Bartholomeuz, a local GP and Clinical Director of Mid Nottinghamshire’s Place Based Partnership, said, “‘The role of Carers in supporting the most vulnerable in our communities is immeasurable. The invaluable Care Navigation Service has been key to supporting Carers, working closely with practice teams and signposting patients and Carers to services and support. The service has grown from strength to strength and is now an integral part of primary care.”

Julie Edwards, Care Navigator and Team Lead; Megan Cooper, Care Navigator; and Alex Flint, Care Navigator; Karen Richardson, Diabetes Nurse Specialist; Heidi Lewis, Project Manager and Carer Champion; Emma Alder, Quality and Governance Lead and Carer Champion; Jayne Davis, NCA’s Employer Liaison Worker; Nicky Render, Care Navigation Manager; Diane Gough, Care Navigator and Team Lead; Stephanie Smith, NCA’s Health Liaison Worker; Joanne Pounder, Care Navigator and Team Lead; Karen Frankland, Deputy Managing Director; Dr Paul Scullard, Deputy Medical Director; and Karen Bush, Operations Manager. 

Stephanie Smith (3rd from left) presents the award to the Care Navigation team.

Jayne Davis (4th from left) presents the award to PICS Carer Champions.