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Kate Garraway: The Fight for Carers

Television presenter Kate Garraway has praised the UK’s army of care workers, amid fears their services might be withdrawn from her seriously ill husband.

The host of Good Morning Britain relies on carers to help look after Derek Draper, 56, who is almost completely bedridden.


However, like millions of other people across the country, they face losing this vital assistance due to a shortage of care workers UK-wide.

Derek, a former political lobbyist, has been suffering the life-changing effects of Covid-19 for more than three years. He was rushed to hospital with a serious case of coronavirus in March 2020 and remained in hospital for a year, after initially being put into an induced coma on a ventilator.

Kate said the virus had “wreaked havoc” on her husband’s body. It has left him with lasting organ damage, and he has been continually in and out of hospital since first being allowed home in April 2021.


Caring for Derek


For Kate Garraway, caring for Derek has become a labour of love. She gave viewers an insight into their family life during an appearance on the ITV lunchtime show, Loose Women, to mark Carers’ Rights Day on 23rd November.

Kate, also 56, revealed Derek had recently gone back into hospital for a further course of treatment.

Prior to this, he had been readmitted multiple times with life threatening health problems including brain inflammation, liver damage and kidney failure. He is currently undergoing phase two of a planned course of treatment that began in 2022, aimed at improving his mobility and strength.

In October 2023, Kate gave a worrying update on Derek’s health when she spoke at the Pride of Britain Awards. She told viewers her husband was showing “no major signs of improvement”, but added, “The battle goes on.”


Life-changing illness


Kate has presented Good Morning Britain since 2014, after starting her television career as a reporter and news presenter for the southern edition of ITV News Central in 1989.

In September 2000, she became co-presenter of GMTV Today. She has also hosted various light entertainment shows including Too Many Cooks, The Biggest Loser and Wall of Fame.

Today, Kate has become his carer but says it’s incredibly tough looking after a loved one. Her husband lives solely on the ground floor of their family home in London and after fighting for his life in intensive care, Derek is largely confined to bed now he’s back at home.

Kate relies on assistance from care givers, because she averages just four hours’ sleep each night, due to the amount of help he needs. No matter how hard it is, she manages to stay strong, because her husband needs her.

However, during her appearance on Loose Women, she revealed she was constantly “battling the system” to hang onto the carers’ services. Sadly, there’s a national shortage of care givers – there is a waiting list of 430,000 people in England alone, where there are 165,000 vacant posts waiting to be filled.


Care system in crisis


For Kate Garraway, news that they may lose their care givers due to an official review of whether Derek remained eligible for help was the final straw. She has spoken out to demand more support for carers, voicing her fears that Derek “could die” without them.

She told viewers that receiving help to look after seriously ill relatives wasn’t a “luxury”, it was a necessity. Speaking on behalf of other people in the same situation, she said every time Derek went back into hospital, they feared he might be taken from them. Yet due to carer assessment delays and the complex system, there are no guarantees the family will continue to receive the help they need when he returns home again.

Families who require assistance must ask their local council to carry out a care needs assessment. They will also be means tested to decide whether a care package should be authorised.

When a family member has “ongoing significant health needs”, relatives can request NHS funding for “continuing care”. However, there are no guarantees that they will be approved.

The Care Rights UK charity says the continuing problems with the system are putting people’s lives at risk. There is a “huge strain” on families who are struggling to fill the gaps in professional healthcare support. The government and health system are “failing to respect people’s basic rights”, charity bosses claim.

The charity Age UK has praised Kate for highlighting the issues that people all over the country are battling.

It isn’t the first time the TV presenter has spoken of the struggle carers go through, with the system failing to help both care givers and their patients. This time, the situation has become more serious with the potential loss of their support network.

As Kate points out in her book, The Strength of Love, published in February 2023, looking after a family member means you’re “holding a life in your hands”. She says being a carer takes its toll both physically and emotionally, but you are expected to remain resilient in the face of all life’s challenges.

For more information on Kate Garraway: The Fight for Carers talk to Kinderkey Healthcare Ltd

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