Community Hospitals Scottish Borders


I was interviewed by ITV Border regarding The review of Community Hospitals in the Scottish Borders by NHS Borders on Thursday here is the interview. The petition is here

We’ve reached a crucial point in our campaign – next Thursday,  19th February 2015 we’re going to be delivering our petition to the board of Borders NHS

Now is the time to put the pressure on and make sure we get the right outcome. There are two ways you can help:

  1. Share the petition one more time so we can get a final new signatures before the hand-in:

http://you.38degrees.org.uk/petitions/nhs-dont-close-community-hospitals-in-hawick-peebles-duns-and-kelso

  1. If you can make it, come along to the petition hand-in. The more of us that are there, the more impact we can have. Here’s what you need to know:

When: 19th Febuary 2015 @ 3:00pm
Where: NHS Borders
Rushbank
Newstead
Melrose
TD6 9DA
Extra info: It is not envisaged that this will last any longer than 30 minuets and  press will be invited so a big turnout would be great this petition is about People not buildings so please come along.

Advertisements

Some positive notes


Its been over a week since I last posted and other than some reductions in the swelling in Claire’s legs there is really no change in Claire’s physical health. She is however so much happier to be in the living room as opposed to the bedroom up the stairs. We are still no further forward in getting a “Hospital Bed”. This would make life so much easier as the bed she is using is very low.  So need to get one Not sure how to yet. The doctor has not been in touch either considering they referred Claire to the hospital I would have thought they might have wondered is she still had the symptoms which by the way she has.

I am enjoying Claire being down stairs its just a case of working out a routine sometimes takes us a while when there is a change. We are getting there though. Its great spending so much time with Claire as not only is she my wife she is my best friend and I didn’t realise how much I had missed just being able to sit and watch TV with her.  Being able to do this again has helped us both so much.

What a Week


I know I have not posted for a while as have been busy but this past week has just been worst for a while so had to post.

Just to update you. Last Tuesday Claire was still in a great deal of pain from her sinuses. I called the Doctors at O’Connell Street and a Doctor came out to see her. He was concerned that “Two Anti Biotic’s” had not cleared the Sinus Infection. He felt that the “Best option” was for Claire to go to the Borders General Hospital (BGH)  and arranged an Ambulance he felt there may be an issue with swelling on her Brain.

I helped Claire get Dressed and Come down the Stairs which was a great struggle. An ambulance came and decided to take her out in her wheelchair from the bottom of the steps at the Front Door.   It was at that point we realised that the tyres were flat on the wheelchair it was still however used and Claire was bumped down the steps at the bottom of the path in the wheelchair. They got her into the ambulance and to the BGH.

She was in A & E for Four Hours and saw 2 Doctors and had “OBS” done her Blood Pressure was low and her heart beat was high. The Doctor released her as they felt it was a Sinus infection but didn’t give her any Tablets. They have referred her to the ENT department.

 I drove her home we had a bit of struggle getting her into the car at the BGH as she was very sore by this time.  When I got her out of the Car we decided she would use her Zimmer which was the way she felt most confident to get in (it was after 6pm by this time). With a great deal of work I got her to the Steps at the bottom of the path and she made the first step she then fell I got her on her feet and she fell again. It was at that point Claire and I realised we were not going to get her in on our own and that Claire had hurt her knee and hip. I therefore dialled 999 and an Ambulance came, Claire at this point was sitting on the Steps in the cold. The Ambulance drivers talked about getting a special chair to get Claire into the house but after discovering that she had hurt her hip and knee they decided to take her back to the BGH. Claire felt she was able to get back to the Bottom of the Path and get on a Trolley bed she was very cold by then and had a number of Blankets over her but she was still on the cold surface. She managed this with help from me and the two ambulance men. They took her back to the BGH.

 She was at the BGH for Four hours again and had X Rays which showed no breaks she has a bruised hip and sprained knee. The A & E staff arranged for an Ambulance to take her home and I returned before she did. Two Ambulance Crews came and with the help of a special Electric climbing chair got her into the house and into the living room.

 She has not managed the Stairs and Monday Morning was still  sleeping sitting up in the Living Room. That was a whole 6 days after the hospital visit.

I had contacted Claire s OT (Occupational Therapist) by email on the Sunday night advising her of all this as she had been on Holiday the previous week. I telephoned her on the Monday Morning and we discussed the possibility of Claire getting a Hospital Bed for the living room. I was advised that none were available and that she could not tell me when one would be available. Scottish Borders Council are looking into Clawing Back Beds from the Community where they are no longer needed. I was advised that she may not even qualify for a bed. I therefore decided that I would bring a bed down from  upstairs.

We now have Claire in the living Room on a Single bed. We are seeing this as a positive step as she is able to be more involved in what is going on and has more room to move about. It is unfortunate that yet again it was us that had to solve the problem and that due to lack of funding at Scottish Borders Council the Social Work Department Could not help.

I know there are many stories like this out there at the moment as the Cuts in Local Authorities are hitting people like us the hardest. I am hopeful that Claire being in the living room will be a positive step and will keep you updated.

24 /7 – what it really Means


We live in a world where everyone wants everything and they want it now when was in my twenties you could not Buy Alcohol on a Sunday anywhere other than a pub. Shops didn’t open 24/7. If you wanted to go to a “Mall” you went to the Metro centre in Gateshead. Now we have 24/7 supermarkets in Countless malls in every major City while some of this does make our life that little easier it also kills of things from the past like the corner shop and the High Street.

Now living in the 24/7 age does everyone really understand what that means well to me it is my life being a carer I look after Claire 24/7 when she needs help during the night I am the person helps her. Much like other Carers up and down the whole of the UK and indeed throughout the World. This is the real 24/7 and this Wednesday the 24th July 2013 Co-operative  Group employees up and down the UK will be bringing this to peoples attention by doing events to raise money for the Carers Trust.

I have the pleasure of being a Carers Ambassador this year and have been visiting stores, phoning stores, supporting at events and recently spoke  to a Membership committee to show the important work that carers do.  Here is the presentation I gave –

 

Intro / Slide 1

Slide-1

Hi everyone.

My name is Michael Grieve and I am a Carers Trust Ambassador.  I am also a Carer for my Disabled Wife.

This year I am helping to support Co-operative staff, members and customers with fund raising for The Carers Trust which is as you know is your chosen charity of the year 2013.

The Charity of the Year Partnership will fund new projects for young adult carers aged between 14 – 25 years.

Many thanks for the opportunity to speak to you today about what I believe will be one of the most exciting things to happen for young adult carers in many years.

We at Carers Trust are privileged to be able to work with you to bring a whole range of new support services and grants to a large group of people who devote a significant part of their life to helping others and who are rarely recognised for what they do.

Slide 2

 Slide-2

But what is a carer? A carer is someone of any age who provides unpaid support to family or friends who could not manage without this help due to illness, disability, mental ill-health or a substance misuse problem.

Caring is a cause on a vast scale – more than 7 million people in the UK, with the number forecast to reach 9 million by 2037 – that’s 1 in 10 of the population who is a carer

Yet, despite the huge size of the issue, it’s a cause that is still very much “hidden” or unrecognised and one that does not evoke the same emotive response you get when you talk about causes such as Alzheimer’s, child cruelty or cancer.

For any one individual, the chances are that they will be a carer at some point during their life. Caring affects us all.

Slide 3

Slide3

As I said despite the fact that there are 7m carers in the UK – 1m of which are under 25, caring is still very much a hidden issue with many carers going unnoticed for the support they’re providing and the impact that it has on their lives.

At Carer’s Trust, we don’t believe that caring should be a hidden cause.

As many as 25% provide more than 20 hours of care per week and 12% provide more than 50 hours – this is a huge statistic and one that cannot go unnoticed.

Slide 4

Slide-4

The impact of caring on anyone is huge, but it is especially noticeable on Young Adult Carers. This year we are raising money to support 20,000 Young Adult Carers so that they are not forgotten, so that they are empowered and equipped with the skills and information they need to transform their lives.

It goes without saying that if somebody is caring for 20 hours a week; this is going to have a huge impact on their life, both mentally and physically.

We know that 68% of Young Adult Carers are bullied – not at school all the time, can’t go out with friends after school – they are easy targets

Because they are not always able to attend school; hospital visits, caring around the clock or simply because when they do go, they get left behind so choose not to go – this can have a huge effect on their education and career opportunities.

Not forgetting the physical implications of caring – if someone is lifting their dad into bed every night, helping their mum down the stairs, this is going to have an impact on their health and we see this time and time again.

What these Young Adult Carers are doing for their loved ones really is fantastic, and this shouldn’t be ignored, but all of these things can lead to social exclusion and isolation which put Young Adult Carers at a huge disadvantage, at Carers Trust  we work to ensure that Young Adult Carers are not ignored or forgotten, that they receive the support they need to live their own lives.

Slide 5

Slide-5

I would now like to read you a blog extract written by a young adult carer on the Carers Trust website…

Blog extract – I care for my Mum, and I don’t class myself as a carer, more of a shoulder, and a helper, because Mums capable of a lot of things. She doesn’t have a full disability; it’s more of a memory thing. Her accident years ago, before I was born, affected her memory and now she has trouble remembering things, or noticing things, or takes a lot of time to register how to do things, and I’m coped pretty well my entire life, but now that I’m 17, and had trouble with school and now college, it’s getting quite hard to deal with it all.

I love my Mum and she’s like my best friend, but she constantly feels like she fails at everything and I’m just not strong enough anymore to say otherwise, because I do feel like I’ve lost out on having a Mum who is all there, and it’s hard not to want to admit that, especially when there’s nothing she can do to help that. Most days, things are okay, and we both cope with it, but today, again, like a lot of days lately, I just felt like I couldn’t cope, and needed to let it out.

Does anyone have any advice on the kind of things I can do, to stop the depression and anger and stress getting to me? I do card making at times, I wonder if doing that more and say selling them on to people would be a good idea, I’m open to ideas, and any support and help would be great. I don’t want to feel alone anymore…

Slide 6

Slide-6

Carers Trust is comprised of its Network Partners – Carers centres and Crossroad schemes. We cover the UK and reach 38,000 adult carers each year, 27,000 YAC.

Carers centres; provide info, advice and support. Community consultations and practical help, befriending schemes, breaks away and social and training activities and schemes

Crossroads; provide care in the home, so that carers can take a break. Carer support workers go into the home and provide overnight support, assistance with meals, household duties, personal care etc. whatever the normal carer normally does they will do.

Slide 7

Slide-7

What will  Carers Trust  being the cooperative’s charity of the year mean for young adult carers?

Slide 8

 Slide-8

Working together, we would like to raise at least £5 million nationally. During the course of 2013, this will involve more than 4000 store and branch visits to more than 110,000 staff.

So far to date we have raised over £1.6Million – meaning we are well on track to reaching our target!

Slide 9

Slide-9

There is a regional calendar of events available for the North region. These include things like sky dives, fun runs, sponsored walks, half-marathons and mountain climbs.

If you are interested in doing an individual or team challenge or would like to organise your own fundraising event or challenge please contact your regional fundraiser, Terrie Oakshott.

Slide 10

Slide-10

Upcoming events in the North region include…

  1. The ‘Round the Region Relay’ is a sponsored walk or cycle which we are still looking for teams to take part in. This will involve walking a sponsored section of the North regional boarder and will involve teams from all business divisions. This is a membership led event which has been organised by Kevin McGrother and your membership team will be able to give you more information about this exciting event.
  1. Launch of 24/7 – So How You Can Get Involved On Wednesday 24th July 2013 colleagues across The whole Co-operative Group are being asked to take part in our exciting, UK wide Charity of the Year fundraising day. 24/7 is about more than just fundraising; it aims to highlight the 24 hour, seven day a week nature of caring that carers face every day. We’re aiming to raise at least £247,000 on this one day alone, and every section of business is invited to take part. Please ask your stores to get in touch and let me know what they are up to. They can also tweet photos to @carerstweets and email them to toakshott@carers.org

Ideas – Why not do a time themed event to link into 24/7? Or do a 24 hour challenge? Get staff to cycle 247 miles on an exercise bike in store…shave 24 heads in one day…sit in a bath of beans for 247 minutes…The possibilities are endless! Anything that incorporates the numbers 24 / 7!

Slide 11

Slide-11

If you would like to get involved with supporting carers Trust this year please do let us know.

Slide 12

Slide-12

How we can support the co-operative with fundraising this year.  Your regional fundraiser is Terrie Oakshott  (contact details on slide) and there is a team of charity ambassadors across the region from many local carers’ centres who may be able to provide support at a more local level.  There is also dual branded charity merchandise available for any branch or staff to order. Merchandise is free and available via a telephone hotline or this order form…

Slide 13

Slide-13

How to order…

Slide 14 / Slide 15 – Project Intro / Project Slide

Slide-14

Fundraising will support a variety of key projects under the “About time” umbrella. The Charity of the Year partnership strongly supports Co-operative’s commitment to Inspiring Young People, a key part of its ethical plan, and is expected to reach and transform the lives of 20,000 young adult carers.

Slide-15

There are 5 core strands to “about time” starting with the “Time to be noticed” campaign, designed to improve national awareness of young adult carers, what they do and the issues they face. “Time out” will provide respite breaks to give young adult carers the breathing space to focus on themselves and their ambitions. “Time for Change” will set up 50 major new projects across the UK, offering tailored support and services in areas such as education, training, careers and health. ”Time to connect” will provide a new on-line support website where young adult carers can seek advice and connect with others in a similar situation. Finally, “Time to be heard” is a programme of events designed to  give young adult carers the opportunity to engage with opinion formers and policy makers so that they can develop the skills and confidence to make their voices heard.

Slide 16 – Thank You

Slide-16

Thank you for your time today – please feel free to ask me any questions you may have

You can do this by leaving a comment

Mr G’s Salon


My wife Claire has started her own Blog at Speaking up for those that have unpaid Carers but when I read her latest post I  managed to get her to let me post on here as I find it quite amusing and hope you will too.

My husband has learnt to do so many new things since my illness began, he is now, of course perfected the art of laundry, got fed up of my love of washing dishes, so we acquired a dishwasher. The art of folding and hanging his laundry to such a perfect degree, that my second love, ironing, is hardly ever required.

Mr G’s cooking in all reality beats mine hands down so damn much. His soup making, stews, roasts, bread making and to top it off his bloody jam making skills, make me so damn jealous.

His hunting down bargains while shopping also beat mine I am ashamed to admit. Unless he shops with our eldest daughter, his weekly shopping means I can actually save money!!

Now he has yet again excelled at another new talent, Mr G to my utter and total amazement, not only cut my hair, he managed to thin it quite a bit also.

Although he has amassed all the above new talents, his biggest and best new talent his being an unpaid carer. He finds this a shock that he is able to care for me. I however never ever doubted he could do this, as I have always trusted in him and please believe me that I have total respect in every unpaid carer.

Take care.

Mrs G.

My Presentation to the Carers Cross Party Group last Night in Scottish Parliament on being Prepared to Care?


Good Evening, firstly I would like to thank Heather from Princess Royal Trust for Carers For asking me along to speak today. My name is Clare Lally and I am here tonight with my partner Derek and friend Michelle.  I am full time  mum/carer to my twin daughters Holly and Katie, the Twincesses. The girls are now 6 and a half and were born 12weeks premature, as a result of the birth Katie suffered brain damage and was left unable to walk, talk and swallow – she is fed via a button in her tummy and she is also a silent aspirator which means she can choke and you can’t hear it so we have to watch her 24hours a day to prevent this! She is such a clever girl she can also use this to manipulate a situation as well.. Holly our other daughter has no health issues, she is a beautiful girl with patients of a saint however I do feel I let her down a lot. So the theme of this weeks Carer’s Week is prepared to care? Was I prepared …to care? No i wasn’t, I was preparing to be a mum for the first time.
* – I wasn’t prepared for the continuous bad news we were getting for Katie, every day/week there was always something else wrong.
* – I wasn’t prepared to bring my children into the world and then spend every day thinking is this the last day we have with her.
* – I wasn’t prepared to have to learn all the various pieces of medical equipment we have to use on a daily basis.
* – I wasn’t prepared to feel I was letting down my other daughter because so much time focuses on Katie who isn’t well.
* – I wasn’t prepared for friends and close family to Abandon us at a time we needed them the most!
* – I wasn’t prepared for other Carers to be so horrible and nasty because I was campaigning and speaking out!
* – I wasn’t prepared to have to constantly fight and battle with services for services!

These are just some of the things I was not prepared for! But, Now these are the things I am not prepared to let other Carers Go through – we have to be prepared for things and we can do this by preparing together.  If we had been told before we came home from hospital with the girls all the things we would have to go through, all the fights and battles we would have to deal with I really don’t know if we could have done it!  There is no amount of preparation could prepare you for what lies ahead.  For me the 24hour care of Katie is the easiest part of life, the hardest part is all the fights and challenges!  I was on Call Kaye phone in the other morning on BBC Good Morning Scotland, and one of the things I said was we need a huge needle and thread to start sewing up all the loopholes and nets we all fall through! Well, we are that needle and thread, we can start sewing them up because we know what they are because we are the ones who have fell through them! We have to make changes not just for us but for the Carers who will be coming behind us so they do not have to go through the same hurdles and challenges that we have all had to.
And on that note I will thank you for listening and giving me the time to speak

My presentation on “Prepared to Care” To Cross Party Group on Carers at Scottish Parliament


I realize that a number of MSPs and Carers were not able to attend the Cross Party Group on Carers Last Night in the Scottish Parliament So here is the Text of what I said in my presentation.

“Good Evening my name is Michael Grieve and I am going to speak to you about being Prepared to care.  

I have been a carer for my wife Claire for about 8 years. It is quite hard to say when I really started being a carer, as my wife’s illness has deteriorated over time.  She suffers from Chronic Pain but it was eight years ago I gave up work as a Programmer Analyst with the Edinburgh Woollen Mill to become a full-time carer. The Chronic Pain she suffers from has become more debilitating and now her loss of Mobility has reached the stage that she currently is stuck in her bed 24/7 so she is only out of bed to go to the toilet. At the moment this is a real struggle for her to achieve but she struggles and fights everyday to do things that you and I take for granted.

I was not prepared for the financial implications of me being a full-time carer having been used to a reasonable income from working full-time.

I was not prepared for having to fight for my wife to get the Benefits that she is entitled to.

I was not prepared for having to see my wife in pain and not be able to do anything about it.

I was not prepared for being called a bully when I stand up for the person I care for.

I was not prepared for the heartache our Children would go through when they see their Mother in Pain.

I was not prepared for the lack of support from friends and family. My Family don’t live near enough to give physical support but the emotional support they give helps immensely.

I was not prepared for having to fight every step of the way.

I was not prepared for how it would affect our relationship however that has not been a negative thing we are closer now than we have ever been. We laugh we joke we get through the day.

I was not prepared for the fact that I would experience that which few fathers have and   be at home and help and guide my children’s growth I am proud of all three of my children they are all doing the most with their education Our youngest Daughter is just starting 5th Year and our Eldest Daughter is in 6th Year. However it is our son who has gone to Abertay University and is a Student Nurse.  His time spent with his mum after leaving School and before going to University had an impact on him which is why he chose nursing.

I have campaigned for or against one thing or another all my life and it was I suppose inevitable that I would become a campaigner for carers.  The profile of Unpaid Carers has been increased over the past couple of years but it still has a long way to go a lot of people and yes politicians among them still don’t get the work that the Millions of unpaid carers do every day.  

There are still people out there who don’t identify themselves as carers we have to reach them and get them over the stigma that being called a carer means that you are an “unpaid skivvy” as one person described how they felt about the term to me.     

I would like to see Carers getting the respect and recognition they deserve not hidden away as a cheap solution to the cuts in health and social care.    

Without organizations like the local carers centers, The Princess Royal Trust for Carers and Carers (Scotland) I don’t know where the campaign for carers would be. I am privileged to do work with all these organizations and I have not met a group of People more committed to fight for the organizations they represent.

Organizations like the Royal College of GPs are now developing policies on carers and ensuring a greater understanding of the role of carers among GPs.

The Co-op Retail stores have adopted The Carers Trust as their charity of the year and hope to raise £5 Million pound I am proud to be one of Scotland’s Carers Ambassadors and as such go to stores and help them understand what carers do and provide a local contact for events and support.

However the fight continues there are new carers every day and I will continue to fight for them not to go through what I and many others have.  Clare Lally and I have developed and online presence in the form of a Blog and are both shocked and pleased at the great response it has received.  Posts may be in fits and burst but we hope to have “Guest Bloggers” to speak of their experiences.    

My whole outlook on life has changed since becoming a carer I believe for the better when you have to spend your time thinking of someone else and putting their needs before your own it makes you realize that some of the small things in life don’t really matter.

I believe that yes there are negative impacts on your life at the moment when you become a carer but the benefits you can get can far out weight them.

 

Thanks for listening.”