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Pitching for Carers at the Party Conferences

Gordon Conochie making a pitch to the dragons

Gordon Conochie making a pitch to the dragons urging more investment in NHS for carers support

The Princess Royal Trust for Carers is part of a group of charities that work together to keep health issues high up the political agenda. Within the large group, we join into triumvirates to hold debates at each party of conference and we went with the Royal College of GPs (RCGP) and Breakthrough Breast Cancer.

We decided that our debates would replicate the format of Dragon’s Den with each organisation making a pitch to a panel asking for money to improve what the NHS achieves. The panel at each conference would be made up of a Minister (or shadow), a journalist, a NHS representative and a patient or carer. They would interrogate us, followed by questions from the audience and then they would decide how many chocolate gold coins each organisation would get.

The RCGP wanted more money to lengthen GP training from 3 years to 5 years that would help their awareness of the huge variety of conditions and prepare them for GP commissioning. Breakthrough wanted funding so that every area used digital mammography rather than having to process film, which would make the process much quicker. We wanted money to support carers at the point of discharge to prepare them for what caring responsibilities they would shortly take on.

We narrowly lost to the RCGP at the Lib Dem conference but audience members told us that we were robbed. I agreed. However, we did get the backing of the dragons at the Labour and Conservative conferences including the support of Diana Johnson MP and Simon Burns MP, Shadow and Minister of Health respectively. We did get a wee bit of help from Dr Claire Gerada, incoming RCGP chair who gave their pitch, announced that the dragons should give us their vote at the Conservative conference.

The debates at each conference were very well attended (overflowing at Tories) and the feedback from delegates was very positive, including NHS and local authority reps. Denis Campbell (Guardian and Observer journalist), chaired the Conservative party and concluded that the treatment of carers was a national scandal. Hopefully another ally there.

I’ll let you know exactly what the politicians were saying in the next blog, but just thought you might find this interesting.

Gordon

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October 14, 2010 - Posted by | Conservatives, Health, Labour, Liberal Democrats, Party Conferences, Uncategorized, Young carers | , , ,

1 Comment »

  1. Seems they just cut off the supply of chocolate coins so nobody wins,except the chancellor, who must payback his precious deficit. There was no money for Carers before the cut backs, now there will be even less when they stop all the benefits!

    Comment by hairybiker | October 15, 2010 | Reply


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