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No break for carers

One thing that Carers Week does achieve is huge media interest which can result in people like me being pitched into radio interviews. So yesterday I was trying to refine my Scottish accent so that the listeners of Radio Cornwall could understand me. Although I’m not sure how many there are in the first place.

It seemed to go well i.e. I didn’t swear, enter a coughing fit, sneeze or lose the ability of speech. The interviewer had done a bit of homework and asked whether there was a gap between what carers needed and what the Government was doing. I knew the answer to that one!

He was genuinely astounded by the number of carers there are and brought up an interesting point for listeners advising them that even if they are not currently a carer, it was likely that would be at some point, so they had better get involved in the debate too. Three cheers for Radio Cornwall I say. 

From that interview I ran off to Parliament with Anne Roberts, Chief Exec of Crossroads, for a reception with about 40 MPs and carers in support of Carers Week. Whilst running along, Anne gave me the lowdown on the two finalists of The Apprentice who she met whilst doing an interview for GMTV.

The security checks made us miss the speeches by the two carers. However, I know Janice from our Surrey carers’ centre so she kindly gave me her speech. The last paragraph is especially moving and worth repeating. 

“As well as people with unique insight into the circumstances of our loved ones, we are also people with responsibilities and lives outside of caring. I want this to be recognised, respected and supported.”

Jonathan Shaw MP, Minister for Disabled People (who has the brief for carers’ benefits in the Dept of Work and Pensions), was there so let’s hope he was listening. He also got his ear bent about how Primary Care Trusts (PCTs) were not providing breaks for carers as was announced they would do in the Carers Strategy last year. 

Anne McGuire MP, who hosted the reception and knows what it is like to be a carer, asked for more information about this. The problem is that although PCTs have been given money, it is not ring-fenced, so some PCTs are using it to provide breaks for carers but the majority are not. 

I’ll talk more about the problems with PCT and breaks for carers in a later blog but for now I would like to take my hat off to Janice from Surrey and the DJ from Cornwall who have shown wise words don’t have to come from MPs or finalists of TV programmes.

Take care,

Gordon

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June 11, 2009 - Posted by | Carers Week 2009 | , , ,

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