Carer Support Scheme - A guide for carers

North Bristol NHS Trust is committed to making reasonable adjustments to support patients and carers whilst they are in hospital and to work in partnership with them.

Carer contributions are greatly valued. To help you to give ongoing support and care to your loved one whilst they are in hospital we have a Carers Support Scheme. The Scheme provides complimentary parking, an access card to the staff restaurant and referral to our Carers Liaison Service.

Complimentary parking and restaurant access card


The carer spends a minimum of three hours per day or the equivalent of 20 hours or more over a seven day period on the ward providing support to the patient.

This support could include:

  • Personal care - providing assistance with washing/dressing.
  • Oral hygiene/mouthcare - teeth brushing/cleaning dentures.
  • Assisting with eating and drinking.
  • Providing support at the end of life.
  • Helping to reduce patient anxiety or behaviour which indicates that the patient is anxious or distressed.
  • Providing reassurance to the patient when difficult or painful procedures need to be performed, including accompanying the patient to the theatre and being present in recovery after the operation.
  • Providing assistance if the patient is uncooperative, for example if physiotherapy is considered to be necessary to aid the patient’s recovery.
  • Helping to prevent the patient falling.
  • Providing other forms of support as agreed between the carer/parents/ward staff or registered practitioner.

Carers who are eligible can receive:

  • Complimentary car parking for up to two weeks (this can be renewed when requested by staff).
  • Access to the staff restaurant for meals.
  • Support to stay overnight which, depending on availability, may be a reclining chair or bed.
  • Referral to the Carers Liaison Support Service.

Senior members of staff should be consulted when applying for a carer to access a car parking permit or restaurant access card, but any member of staff can support a carer to complete the form.

Carers will be given an information leaflet about the Carers Support Scheme to read to make them aware of the terms and their accountability under the agreement.

Complimentary parking

  • A complimentary car parking permit is valid for all public car parks on the Southmead Hospital Site.
  • Carers must visit the Security and Parking office to collect their permit where their car registration will be added to the system. Car park barriers will open and a parking ticket will be issued for use in the pay and display car parks.
  • The car parking permit is valid for up to two weeks. Permits can be renewed multiple times up to the end of a hospital stay. Ward staff will need to complete a new form each time it is renewed.

Please note that two carers’ registration numbers will be allocated to one permit/per patient.

If you wish to exchange a registration number for another please take the slip issued by the Security and Parking Office who will then update your details. If circumstances change you will not automatically be guaranteed a new permit.

Important information for Blue Badge holders

This badge can only be used by the named badge holder, or by a person who has dropped off or is collecting the badge holder from the place where the vehicle is parked. It is a criminal offence for anyone else to use this badge in any other circumstances.

Access to the staff restaurant

Carers Cards

  • Carers can obtain a Carers Card from the Security and Parking office. A £5 deposit is required and will be fully refunded when the card is returned.
  • The Carers Card will allow access to the staff restaurant (you will be given a separate map when you pick up the card) to purchase a hot meal and drink at advertised prices. Meals and drinks are not discounted or free; cards only provide access to the Vu restaurant.
  • To use the card, hold it up near the grey boxes at the side of the door. There should be a beep and the light will change to green. You can now open the door. Try again if you get multiple beeps or a red light.
  • Carers Cards are valid for up to two weeks and can be renewed multiple times up to the end of the hospital stay. The ward will need to complete a new form each time it is renewed.
  • All Carers Cards must be returned to the Security and Parking Office upon discharge where the £5 deposit will be fully refunded.
  • All Carers Cards will be cancelled after seven days if not being used.

Please note the Security and Parking Office is open 7am – 6.30pm, Monday to Friday. If a patient’s expected discharge date is outside of office hours please return the card before the office closes at 6.30pm explaining the situation.

Card usage rules

  • Cards do not provide access to any wards.
  • Access to the staff restaurant from the Atrium is through one specified door (see map).
  • Only one card will be issued per patient (cards can be shared if more than one person is providing care that fits the eligibility above).
  • Only two carers are permitted per restaurant visit (if sharing cards as above).
  • Patients are not permitted in the staff restaurant.
  • Cards must not be passed to other hospital visitors; it is only valid for the carer it is issued to and must not be kept on the wards.
  • Meals are not discounted or free - cards only allow access to the restaurant.
  • If you are found to have abused any of the above, cards will be withdrawn.
  • Cards must be returned to the Security and Parking Office at the end of hospital stay when the £5 deposit will be refunded.

Cards can be withdrawn should the criteria not be fully adhered to.

If you have any questions or concerns regarding the Carers Support Scheme, please speak to staff on the ward or at the Security and Parking Office.

Carer Support Services

There are a number of different carer support organisations across the country who can provide information, support and signposting for unpaid carers. These organisations can make sure you are linked into services providing financial, practical and emotional support for your role.

To find your local carers support service contact your county council or go to the Carers Trust website at and use the search feature to find your local centre.

Support for Carers in Bristol and South Gloucestershire

Carer liaison workers are based at Southmead hospital. We work with carers supporting someone living in Bristol and South Gloucestershire.

We can:

  • Provide help, information, and advice to carers through their hospital journey as a carer and/or patient, working directly on wards and signposting to other services for support.
  • Refer carers for ongoing community support upon discharge.
  • Provide information on services available to carers within the hospital and the wider community.
  • Liaise between the discharge team, ward staff and carers and their family, to help with any concerns or worries.

How to contact us 

Telephone: 07557 418692


© North Bristol NHS Trust. This edition published February 2023. Review due February 2026. NBT003195