Carers Information Pack

Social Services & Health Services


Carers should not be expected to take on the whole burden of caring without practical support. Services that are brought to people in their own homes can make a great difference. Community care services include a range of help for carers and cared for people, such as adaptations and equipment in the home, home care, respite care, meals at home, day care etc.

The local authority, Southwark Council is responsible for organising community care services in the borough. The actual services may be provided by social services, the health service, voluntary agencies or private businesses.

The first step to receiving services is to contact the relevant service. If you are not sure of which service you need, call Southwark’s Health & Social Care call centre. A social worker should offer to carry out a Community Care Assessment (focussing on the person you care for) and their needs and a Carers’ Assessment (focussing on you) to determine your needs.

Following the assessment(s), social services produce an individually-tailored Care Plan. Make sure you receive a copy. The Care Plan details:

  • which services will be provided
  • when the services will start
  • who they will be provided by
  • what it will cost the person cared for
  • when the care plan will be reviewed

Alternatively, you may be eligible to receive Direct Payments in order to select and buy support services yourself.


Alarm scheme – An alarm system for people at risk of medical emergencies when alone this is worn around the neck and can be used to contact the emergency services or named persons.

Incontinent laundry scheme – A laundry collection and delivery service for people who are incontinent.

Home adaptations – Adaptations to your home could include the provision of handrails and stairlifts or the widening of doors for wheelchair access.

Home care service – Home care workers can help with personal care tasks such as washing, dressing, using the toilet and preparing breakfast. They may also be able to help with cleaning, cooking, laundry, collecting benefits and paying bills.

The type and frequency of home care provided is decided as part of the Outcome Based Assessment.

If you are dissatisfied with any aspect of a home care service you should raise it in the first instance with your social worker and the manager of the organisation providing the service. It is often more effective to put any requests or complaints in writing. If this does not resolve the situation you should contact the Social Services Complaints Officer Southwark Carers can assist in pursuing a complaint on your behalf.

The Care Quality Commission also investigates any complaints about care services. The CQC regulate, inspect and review all adult social care services in the public, private and voluntary sectors in England.

Independent personal care

Some disabled people arrange and manage their own home care independently using Direct Payments from social services. The option to receive Direct Payments is made at the discretion of the local authority as part of the assessment process.

Southwark’s Adult Therapy Team is made up of Physiotherapists, Occupational Therapists and Speech and Language Therapists. Together they offer advice, information, treatment and support with:

  • mobility
  • personal care
  • communication
  • memory
  • swallowing
  • People can refer themselves or can be referred by a carer or GP.

Volunteer schemes

These schemes use volunteers to visit people and help out with shopping, practical tasks or just sitting with the person you look after. Organisations running such schemes in Southwark include Age Concern and LinkAge Southwark


Dealing with different organisations and departments in order to ensure you receive the right services can be complex and daunting. An advocate can help by letting you know your rights and the choices available to you, and making sure your voice is heard.

Southwark Carers have an advocacy service for specifically designed to assist carers

Cambridge House Advocacy is another organisation that can help the person you care for get what they need from community care.

Carers and The Health Service

NHS services

NHS Southwark CCG is the organisation responsible for delivering primary care services in Southwark. It covers family doctors (GPs), community and practice nurses, community therapists and dentists.

Secondary care services in Southwark, such as hospital treatment, are provided by a number of NHS Trusts, e.g. Guy’s and St Thomas’ Hospital NHS Trust and South London and Maudsley NHS Trust.

Leaving hospital

Many people need help and support at home when they are discharged from hospital. Others may decide they need to move to a residential or nursing home. Before patients leave hospital their future care should be carefully planned.

A social worker from Southwark’s Hospital Discharge Team should come to the ward and carry out a Community Care Assessment. The assessment should involve the carer, nurse, doctors and therapists in planning the post-discharge care.

A care plan should be drawn up before the patient is discharged so that services are in place as soon as the patient gets home. The patient and carer can ask to have a written copy of this plan.

When placement in residential care is necessary after leaving hospital it is arranged by the hospital social work team.


PALS – Patient Advice and Liaison Service. The PALS teams provide support, information and help on any aspect of NHS services to patients, their family and carers.

Healthwatch Southwark

Healthwatch Southwark exists to give people in Southwark a stronger voice in the health and social care services provided and planned for them.

Everything you need to know about getting and using direct payments – a book explaining direct payments for the cared for person. Contact the Disability Rights UK

Contact NHS 111 for details on medical conditions and queries about NHS services locally or nationally - 0845 46 47

Find us

Southwark Carers
3rd Floor, Walworth Methodist Church,
54 Camberwell Road, London, SE5 0EW
View map and directions

Contact us

020 7708 4497

Find us

Nearest tube: Elephant & Castle underground station (Northern and Bakerloo lines).

Nearest Railway Station: Elephant & Castle

Buses from Elephant and Castle: ask bus driver for Burgess Park. Bus numbers: 12, 171, 148, 176, 68, 484, 42, 40, 45