I was interested to see a news article yesterday about the forthcoming General Election - yes, I know - yawn time! However…
It stated that Labour have listed our Constituency (Thornbury and Yate) as being ‘not a priority to win’. That’s probably because they don’t stand a great chance of inning. It has been held by Conservatives after they won two elections ago, having previously been LibDem territory. However, the YouGov poll last week shows, like many others, it is almost certain to flip back to being a LibDem seat. This prompted me to look at the local LibDem and Conservative ‘Manifestoes’ as much as they are at this point.
I was quite surprised that our Prospective LibDem Candidate has an ‘online Survey’ on her website and the questions include a section on Carers and also Mental Health Provision.
The Carers Section asks what the priorities should be and lists ‘Increased Carers Allowance’, ‘Better and more easily accessible Respite Care’, ‘Provision for Breaks for Unpaid Carers’… I have to say I was surprised, if not shocked to see these included!
Under Mental Health ‘Easier Access to MH services locally’, ‘more readily available information about service and how to access’.
Whilst I know these can be viewed as “Election Promises” or "Election it is interesting to see that SOMEONE is actually looking at the topics.
I was planning to write to each Candidate asking for their views on support for Unpaid Carers and what action and support would they be giving IF they get elected - just to see if I get a response and see if it is the same as I got from our Incumbent who trotted our the same old Party Line about increases each year to CA and how much unpaid carers are valued (without putting that into terms of practical help).
It could be worth having a nosey around your own areas to check as the Election machinery starts to grind into action and we are being Courted for our votes. If nothing else, asking questions will ensure they know the issues are real and it keeps Carers in their line of sight rather than being our usual “Invisible” selves.
@Chris_22081 I would always encourage people to contact their local candidates. Back in 2010 we organised a meeting with candidates across the area for carers to ask questions of all the candidates. One of the candidates (of the ten who turned up) had been a carer and actually got - more or less - where we were coming from. The rest didn’t have a clue, and all of them talked about austerity being the only answer. “I accept that carers need help, but there are other priorities.” How to forget that about 10% of the population are carers, according to the census.
Thanks Chris. I am not personally surprised that some Candidates are taking more of an interest in Carers - heavens look at the numbers forced into caring with a failing NHS and lack of available Social Care and our Aging Population . Medical sophistry too allows people who would not have survived 20 years ago to go ‘on and on’ but needing more care. Maybe your Candidate has experience of caring or knows someone close who has? The questions she is asking are well thought out and show some empathy and knowledge?
My own personal feelings is that ‘Mental Capacity’ needs looking into. Also I really do feel the Memory Clinics need to be less keen to work with a ‘tick box’ system and more open to concerns from the family. In fairness the Consultant was good but he did say he had no choice but to refer my husband back to his GP even though he seemed to agree that he had frontotemporal dementia. Not helped by husband throwing wobbly by Consultant wanting to see me alone and we had to make our conversation very short. Consultant did say that he thought I should leave E but that was not exactly helpful given my lack of finances. The lack of support for Carers of patients especially those who are medically non complaint also needs looking into. Also ‘coercive control’ and 'abuse ’ that Carers are subjected to and yes, it does happen.
I would love to go to the Event where Pritti Patel is speaking - invitation only and see if the potential MP would at least ask what the Conservatives are going to do about Social Care and more support for Carers. I would really push for a Minister for Carers. A minister for ‘Social Care’ is just too wide. I also think this is a good ‘peg’ for newspaper articles. The sheer number of us means we are becoming a force to be reckoned with and maybe just maybe we can work towards change?
For the avoidance of any doubt - I am not advocating for or promoting any particular Political Party or Organisation/Group.
It would be interesting to learn of ANY potential candidate who appears to be aware of and standing up for Carers and Carees and for Health Issues in general.
An Election is when politicians of ANY persuasion are more easily approachable and open to ‘listening’ to topics being raised. This is campaigning for rights and ensuring concerns are discussed, not pushing a particular Party.
@Charlesh47 thanks for making the point about charities and politics. When I’m writing the articles for my website I try to make it clear I’m not affiliated directly with Carers UK when I’m sharing my personal stories and linking with other people in the UK and the US to raise awareness of the challenges of unpaid Carers in the UK.
This is not intended as a promotion but an FYI of the 1 by 1 connecting and sharing I’m trying to build with my website www.carermentor.com
Given the politics in the US there is also a groundswell of stories around Caring across generations and caregiving in general, and I’ve several subscribers to the website who are based in the US. Particularly because the digital platform (Substack) I use, was started there, but also a growing number of subscribers in the UK.
The website I’ve built, isn’t a forum-discussion format, but I hope to diversify the articles beyond my own story. The stories will hopefully raise more awareness about Carer’s challenges and offer empathy and support for carers by carers. Right now, I’m building content for both Carers and the professionals I mentor, and there is some cross over in topics.
The fire and energy in my belly was riled up last October and November…so i hope my independent website can offer another non-political, hub for Carers to share stories, comments and Raise awareness.
I leverage and highlight all the great work of Carers UK as much as possible because as far as I can tell the the helpline is the ONLY one that has trained experts for all types of Carers. Plus this forum of course with its anonymity…(geez I can’t spell…that came out like out he muppet phenomennon thing)
Completely agree. On the carer front, I know Ed Davey was a long term carer, and he’s often spoken about it. No idea re any of the other leaders. Our local MP (Liz Kendall - Labour) has spoken up for carers in the past. So far I’ve seen no evidence of any other prospective candidates, but will absolutely be ready to ask questions of them all.