Case study: Health impact of being an unpaid carer

Partners: Discover-NOW, North West London Networked Data Lab (collaboration of ICHP, Imperial College London, NW London ICS, commissioned by The Health Foundation) 

Photo credit: Centre for Ageing Better

Discover-NOW worked with the NW London Networked Data Lab to identify and understand the needs and health issues of unpaid carers through the analysis of linked datasets. This study was complemented by engaging unpaid carers in NW London to enrich quantitative insights. It forms wider research being undertaken by The Health Foundation to improve data quality on carers. 

Outputs evidenced:  

  • 64% of unpaid carers in NW London were older females from deprived areas, highlighting gender and socioeconomic inequities in caring responsibilities 
  • Carers were 55.4% more likely to have three or more long-term conditions than non-carers, and 2.7 times more likely be moderately or severely frail 
  • Unpaid carers were more likely to use healthcare services than non-carers, with 16% more GP visits, and 57% more outpatient visits 

NW London Networked Data Lab will use this analysis to work with the ICS to advocate next steps to improve health outcomes and access for carers. This includes addressing limitations within the dataset where unpaid carers are not always recorded consistently by primary care.