Tuesday, 1 October 2013

My Filmed interview Mums story - part of the Patients story library acute services training # nhsgg&c #carersweek

With great thanks and respect to Dan Harley and Con Gillespie

I was interviewed as part of a DVD on caring about life caring for my wonderful mum Joan Whitelaw

Dear Tommy,
I wanted to update you with more information about the launch of the Patients’ Stories Library films including your interview.

The Patients’ Stories Library DVD for NHS hospital staff will be launched during Carers week (10-16th June 2013). It will be comprised of 5 films including your interview and a film where Rory Farrelly explains what it is that we are trying to achieve through the use of patients’ stories as a way of learning how we can provide an even better service.

Tommy shared his story with frontline staff working across NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde, including the Ward staff that cared for his mother at the Southern General hospital. His film interview was also shown across a number of NHSGGC hospital sites during Carers Week 2013 to help raise awareness amongst staff about the importance of supporting carers in contributing to delivering person centred care.

Tommy will be a familiar face to many people as a campaigner and public speaker for Dementia Carer Voices. Tommy has been working tirelessly to have the feedback, concerns and views of carers recognised in informing future service provision and in empowering carers themselves. 

Carers play a crucial role in supporting health and social care. It is estimated that one in eight people in Scotland carry out an unpaid caring role. Tommy’s story highlights that it is in everyone’s interest that they are properly supported.

In order to care safely and in good health, carers need information, support, respect and recognition. Tommy’s story highlights that taking on a caring role can sometimes mean facing periods of isolation, frustration and loneliness. Many carers struggle alone and do not know that help is available to them. Tommy’s situation highlights how getting access to the right information at the right time can be vital in helping manage the impact of caring.

We know that carers experience many different caring situations. A carer could be someone looking after a new baby with a disability or caring for an elderly parent, or an elderly person looking after their husband/wife, or someone looking after a grandchild whose parents are unable to do so because of substance misuse problems. Despite these differing caring roles, all carers share similar basic needs.

There are a number of initiatives in place to help staff provide a better service for people with unpaid caring responsibilities. For example,
  • Development of information resources available in all hospitals to promote improved understanding and awareness of carers needs
  • Promotion of the Carers Information Line 0141 353 6504 for staff to encourage carers to call and link in with local support. Staff can also directly refer carers
  • Targeted Carer Awareness Training to staff in identified high carer burden areas
  • Partnership working with community and voluntary sector to help improve signposting and onward referral by staff into carers sevices

Many thanks again for your contribution to this,
Best wishes,

Dan Harley

Community Engagement Manager
NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde
4th Floor Old Outpatients Department
Victoria infirmary 


  1. AnonymousJune 13, 2013

    Fantastic! Brilliant work, Tommy. Thanks to your relentless campaigning, hopefully other carers will not have to go through the hopelessness and isolation that sadly you and your dear Mum Joan often had to face.

    Tommy, this is the BEST tribute you could have given to your Mum. She would be so, so proud of you :)#rememberjoan

  2. Nice trip! All words I want to say.

    Thank for open my eyes!


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