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Political candidate in the shoes of carers

PostPosted: 24 Apr 2010, 13:02
by wendy
Tomorrow Friday 23rd April, I will be with a prospective MP who will visit two carers and spend some time in their shoes, listening to how they struggle.

This has taken nearly a year to set up, and it is much appreciated that the carers are willing for this to take place so as to highlight some of the issues that carers face day in and day out.

As you probably remember that previously when I asked MP’s on Gordon’s Round Table event if they would spend some time in the shoes of carers they did not even reply.

So the reason I have posted on here, is in case you have any questions that you would like me to ask.

I will report back to you after this important event has taken place.

If you remember this came about after our hosted chat in June when Trevor agreed to do this.  


Re: Political candidate in the shoes of carers

PostPosted: 24 Apr 2010, 13:03
by wendy
Putting carers at the heart of my campaign

Posted on April 23, 2010 by Trevor Ivory
This afternoon I took time out from the campaign trail to meet several carers in the Wells area of the constituency.

The last few weeks have been very unreal and I feel like I have talked about nothing but politics. So this afternoon was not about winning votes. Instead it was all about reminding myself why I am doing this in the first place and it has worked.

I am extremely grateful to Wendy for her help organising the afternoon. Wendy lives in Norwich and is a full-time carer. Nonetheless, she still somehow manages to find time to help hundreds of other carers and is heavily involved with the carers support website, which she helps to run. I have known Wendy for several years now and have worked with her on several projects – including taking her and some representatives of other carers groups to meet the Shadow Health Minister, Stephen O’Brien. Wendy also got me to take part in an online chat with carers through the website, although my fingers struggled to keep up with the questions!

Anyway, back to today.

During the course of the afternoon I was privileged to meet some wonderful people who selflessly give up their lives to care for their extremely ill loved ones. I was also struck by their willingness to do this. There is nothing resentful or reluctant about their decision to care for their spouse at home and not put them in a care home. They do it willingly and unconditionally. I also got the clear impression that, actually, they would not have it any other way.

All they ask is for a little support. One of the big issues is the lack of any financial support, even for those with relatively modest income or savings. When simply getting someone in for a short time in the morning and evening to help you to get your loved one out of and into bed costs more than £200 a week, the Attendance Allowance of about £70 a week really does not go very far and your savings very quickly disappear, leaving you with no security in your own older age.

What struck me most of all however was the absolute need for more understanding and compassion in the various public services and the need for a single point of contact to access all the various services for an individual carer. I heard stories today about paramedics who would not help a 5’4 lady lift her 6′something husband back into his bed after he had a fall because “health and safety” would not allow them to lift him. I heard of Social Services refusing to offer any help or guidance because, “you are self-funded and not our problem”.

I could go on with stories of care homes not properly feeding an elderly man with advanced dementia who cannot speak because he, “wouldn’t tell us whether he wanted fish pie or sausages” and of a gentleman waiting weeks for a doctor to come and visit him after suffering multiple strokes.

I have always said that if I achieve nothing else in politics I am determined to improve social and residential care in this country and with it the support that we give to carers. It really is a stain on our national character that we treat some of the most vulnerable people in our society in this way. Especially when so many of them are of the generation that was willing to die fighting for our freedom.

We have already published our plans for a voluntary insurance scheme to make sure that no-one has to sell their home if they need residential care. We have also explained how we will use personal budgets to make sure that more of the funding that should support carers actually makes it to them, instead of being swallowed up by administration and bureaucracy. But after this afternoon I have a better understanding of what else we need to do if we are in Government after 6 May.

I only wish Gordon Brown had been with me today to see for himself what his “fairer Britain” looks like to some of the most vulnerable people in the country.

I sign-off tonight truly humbled by the forgotten army of selfless carers that lurk behind doors in every road in the country.

Re: Political candidate in the shoes of carers

PostPosted: 24 Apr 2010, 13:04
by wendy
I accompanied Trevor Ivory, the Conservative candidate for North Norfolk into the homes of carers in Wells.
The first lady was caring for her terminally ill husband after he had a number of strokes.  When he had the first one it took four days before the doctor went out to visit them, and in the meantime her husband had further strokes.  By the time the husband got into hospital the consultant told them if he had got in sooner, there would have been help, but now there was little that  they could do.  
When he came out of hospital he had to go into a nursing home for a short while, but each home they tried although they had beds available, they were told that these had to be saved for social services.

Her husband returned home and until recently when she has been awarded continuing care, she had to pay for everything.  Now with the continuing care,  she has nurses visit 3 or 4 times a day to help her and I saw them lift the husband with a hoist out of bed into a wheelchair.
The lady explained to me that because they come over the means tested limit then they are not allowed to have a social worker, so there was no one point of contact.  Her main concern was the abysmal pay that the paid carers received.  They sometimes earn just over £1 an hour, so this means they leave the work, and sometimes she can have a different carer for every visit.

I was introduced to a man who is the carer for his wife who has dementia and he spoke with Trevor for some time.

We then went to the home of the other lady, who is a carer for her husband who has a rare form of dementia and he is a JP.  Again they are over the means tested limit.
Like at the first home, he was critically ill, and never even knew that we were there.
But this lady was not getting continuing care, although she has been trying for it for months.  She has to pay for all the nursing care staff that comes to her house, and I noted that her husband was in bed.  She told us, ‘that recently her husband had been awarded the higher rate care for DLA but she was told that they would not get the money for 6 months.’  I asked if their GP was helping them to get the continuing care and she replied ‘no.’
She told us that if her husband fell then she had to get the help of neighbors because the ambulance service would no longer come out to pick someone up.  When her husband was taken into hospital, she had to borrow a portable hoist, because the ambulance staff said it was against their health and safety rules to lift him from a chair onto the stretcher which was in the hall.

I asked the carers if they get regular visits, at least once a month from a GP, but the answer was ‘no.’

If you are a carer of someone dying of cancer, I know that the nursing care is so different from what these two ladies receive.  They have chosen to care for their loved ones at home, but they are left feeling, alone, forgotten and worn out.  But still they save the country millions of pounds.

All I was able to suggest was that they both apply for a carers assessment, which would get them on the system, but after the traumas they told us, they were worn out and had little faith.

This has been an eye opener for me, to see caring in a rural area.  
They need to be visited and given at least the free carers phone line number for Norfolk.  They need to be respected and valued, because they do the caring but where is their support?

With thanks to Trevor Ivory for taking part in this and highlighting the plight of Carers, when every MP we asked was not interested.

With grateful thanks to the carers who allowed us into their home.

Re: Political candidate in the shoes of carers

PostPosted: 24 Apr 2010, 14:25
by wendy

Re: Political candidate in the shoes of carers

PostPosted: 25 Apr 2010, 21:33
by wendy
“We must remove this stain on our nation’s character”
Posted on April 25, 2010 by Trevor Ivory

Trevor Ivory vows to set to work fighting for the rights of carers, “from day one”

With Trevor as our MP, we will have someone standing up for carers right at the heart of a Conservative Government
Having taken time off from the campaign trial on Friday afternoon to meet with local carers, Trevor Ivory -  the Conservative Candidate for North Norfolk, has this morning promised to make sure that he starts work on his very first day as an MP to raise the level of support available to disabled people and their carers.

Speaking to a group of supporters in Cromer, he described the lack of support given to Britain’s army of full-time carers as a stain of the country’s character:  “We should be ashamed of the way that we as a country treat this group of dedicated and caring people who are prepared to put their own lives on hold, sometime for decades, to care for a loved one.  We must remove this stain on our national character.”

“I have always said that my greatest ambition as an MP is to raise the standards of long-term care for disabled and elderly people as well as their carers and this morning I am making a clear pledge:  If I am fortunate enough to be elected as the MP for North Norfolk on 6 May, I will make sure that my first task on 7 May is to start my fight for a fairer deal for these vulnerable people.  My first step will be to seek a meeting with local NHS bodies and social services to find a more joined-up approach to the support of carers – including the appointment of a single contact for every carer who can help them to find their way through the various bodies to access the support and services that they need.

“I shall also seek an immediate meeting with the relevant ministers in the new government (whatever its colour) to discuss how they plan to improve the conditions for carers and those they are caring for.

“The next few years are going to be very tough and I do not want to make spending promises that cannot be kept, but I do promise to make sure that I am always a voice for carers and those in long-term care.  I will always make sure that their voice is heard right at the very heart of government.”

Re: Political candidate in the shoes of carers

PostPosted: 22 Jun 2010, 17:15
by wendy
I deeply regret that the husband of the second carer has passed away before receiving continuing care help.
She continued to care for him at home until he died.  The funeral was today 22nd June 2010.
When will society listen to the needs of carers?