“Every day carers are carrying on…”

Note: As we bid farewell to Gordon and welcome Moira Fraser as the new permanent blogger, here’s a post from Moira introducing herself.

Well, those of you who read regularly will know that Gordon, the man behind Carersblogs, has packed his tartan hanky and headed off to his new adventure in Cambodia. We’ll miss him.

But with every ending there is a new beginning, as they say. So, here I am, and I hope to have the pleasure of your company  whilst I ponder the bizarre world that is health and care policy, and the strange corridors of power in Westminster and Whitehall.

Caring and disability issues are close to my heart.  For the first 27 years of my life, my mother  taught children with learning disabilities in the local special school in Peterhead –  a fishing town  in Scotland about 30 miles from Aberdeen. Sometimes, if the child had severe disabilities and the family did not want their son or daughter to go into residential care far from home, they would stay in my mum’s unit  for many years as it was the only local service for them. I got to know these families – not just the children but also often their mums and dads and other siblings – pretty well over the years.

What the experience of  growing up in this environment taught me was not only about the immense challenges faced by families , and the struggles in getting the right support, but also the difference that good local service, run by dedicated staff who really care about the people they work with, within a strong community support network, can make.

And the other thing I was left in no doubt about was this. Every single one of those children , whatever  their disability, was loved and valued and every single one of them  really mattered. Their triumphs and victories were about learning to walk, learning to say their name, learning to put their clothes on, or learning to use the loo or but they were real victories, often hard won, and worth every bit as much as my fancy exam passes. And with them, their families and my mum and her staff,  I learnt to celebrate these victories, and respect them for the individual people they were.

My mum died many years ago now. I still miss her but she gave me something that I’ll never lose – the desire to play my part in making sure disabled people and their families are respected, valued, supported and celebrated.

There’s lots happening. Benefit reform, social care, NHS struggles still not resolved. And whilst I surf the never-ending wave of announcements, trying to figure out what it all means for carers and local carers services, I have to remember that out there, every day, people are still not getting the support they need. Every day carers are carrying on, carrying on despite all the hardships, because there is no other option.   Keeping that in mind keeps me focused on what matters.

Back to policy blogging next week – but I hope this has helped you see who I am and where I’m coming from. I hope, at least to some extent, it’s the same place as you. If I ever forget it then you must remind me.

Until then, as Gordon used to say, take care.



January 30, 2012 - Posted by | Uncategorized


  1. Hi Moira
    Pleased to hear from you and I wish you well with the blog. Could next weeks policy blogging include a blog about Carers Ambassadors & GP Champions. In whole of the South West of the country I was the only applicant for the Carer Ambassador in Gloucestershire. As the PRT has responsibility for GP Champions with the RCGP’s can you spot light the need for applicants for both roles. Carers need to know about this initiative it is so important and a unique opportunity to get an equal opportunity for Carers and cared for at GP surgeries.
    Take care all
    Daphne Sanderson Cheltenham Carer

    Comment by Daphne Sanderson | January 30, 2012 | Reply

    • Hi Daphne Good idea – will certainly say something about working with GPs, including the work that we are doing as part of that project. Nice to get requests in!

      Comment by moirafraser | February 2, 2012 | Reply

  2. Hello Moira and best wishes in the new job.

    And to welcome you, I’m going to start with a disagreement! Or at any rate a partial disagreement.

    You write, “Every day carers are carrying on, carrying on despite all the hardships, because there is no other option.”

    If you look at Gordon’s blog post “About this blog”, and go to the entry by John Grove-Stephensen, and my reply you will see that in his case, and many others, I’m sure, there came a point where this particular devoted carer could no longer carry on.

    The belief that family carers will always carry on, “Because there is no alternative” is one of the assumptions that allow both central and local government to believe that they can continue to ignore the needs of carers. Carers are too busy, or too tired, to protest and too dedicated to give up = can safely be overlooked.

    Even the best of carers may simply be removed by time or bad luck. Every parent of a special needs child lives with the fear, “what will happen when I can no longer care.”

    Salute the courage and the perseverance which so many show, but don’t let the government, the local authorities or the NHS off the hook.

    Comment by Philippa | January 31, 2012 | Reply

    • Hi Philippa – I’ve been around at The Princess Royal Trust for Carers for a while but have only just taken over the blog- but thank you for your welcome.

      Don’t worry – I certaInly won;t be letting anyone off the hook! All too often we hear about carers that just cant go on – we did a survey last year where it showed a shocking percentage of carers who have really severe health condiions themselves, and their on mental and physical health care deteriorating. And often because they have had to carry on, perhaps longer han was good for them, because they felt there was no other option. We don’t anyone to have to go through this.

      Really nice to hear from you – I really value your feedback.

      Comment by moirafraser | February 2, 2012 | Reply

  3. Hi Moira. I trust in change and this year has to be the year for change. It is time carers are helped and not forgotten. Each year we do the surveys. Each year we fight and each year. I get no more then last year about from a ten per cent off superdrugs which I never received……….each year we are forgotten. I told a doctor I cn not cope another year and here I am 2 years on still struggling and waiting for help..

    Comment by Simone Farrugia Meiszner | March 5, 2012 | Reply

  4. So we now have two Carer Ambassadors for Gloucestershire . On my appointment I suggested that the job was so big for one and that I needed a buddy. Hence two but we do not have a GP Champion to work with so believe it or not we are joining up with the only GP Champion in the South West a Doctor in Somerset. Now this is not good enough. So PRT & Royal College of GP find us one closer to home. For those that do not know what I am talking about here is the info.Purpose of the post

    Carer Ambassadors will work with both their local GP Champion and their local carer community to help bring about a change in attitudes, behaviour and carer engagement within GP practice.

    Aims of the post (in conjunction with GP Champion)

    ➢ To increase the number of people identified as carers (to at least 1% of practice lists)
    ➢ To increase the referral rate of carers to support agencies by 20%
    ➢ To increase awareness and knowledge of issues facing carers among GPs and practice staff
    ➢ To improve support provided for carers in general practice (including provision of advice and information and signposting to other local services)

    Comment by Daphne Sanderson | March 5, 2012 | Reply

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