The ALLIANCE held an event on Carers Rights Day to recognise and celebrate Scotland’s 670,000 carers and the indispensable role that they play.
Guests heard from representatives of the Scottish Dementia Clinical Research Network, who explained their role in promoting high quality research into the causes and consequences of dementia, and enabling people living with dementia and their carers to have a say on what is important to them.
Tommy Whitelaw, Dementia Carer Voices Project Engagement Lead, shared an interview he gave for NHS Greater Glasgow & Clyde’s Patient’s Stories Library. In the video, Tommy described how he didn’t recognise himself as a carer until he reached a crisis situation and his difficulties becoming aware of, and accessing support.
Jim Martin, Scottish Public Services Ombudsman spoke of his office’s role in handling complaints about most of Scotland’s public services and spreading learning from these cases to inform improvement. He outlined his commitment to harnessing the knowledge of carers and other to simplify complaints processes and said “it was a pleasure to hear first-hand from carers and those receiving services about where and how we can do better.”
Commenting on the event, Programme Director Irene Oldfather said “the theme of the day was ‘rights, advice and support’, focusing on ensuring all carers understand their rights and get advice and information that can help them and the person they look after.”
A short summary of the event’s discussion is available to download here.
Dementia Carer Voices recently participated in the Person Centred Health and Care Collaborative’s Third National Learning Session, held at the SECC.
The aim of the event was to bring together people from a variety of backgrounds to share learning about the values, behaviours and approaches that will help to ensure that people are always at the centre of their health and care. Over the course of the two days, delegates had the opportunity to listen, observe and share examples of person-centred approaches to care
Dementia Carer Voices Project Engagement Lead, Tommy Whitelaw received a standing ovation after addressing delegates on the second day of the learning session from a carer’s perspective. Tommy’s speech, on the theme of “No – one ever asked ” highlighted the transformational impact that listening, kindness and understanding made to his journey as a carer, and the importance of looking beyond a person’s diagnosis to engage with them as an individual.
Tommy said "I felt privileged to be invited to share aspects of my own and fellow carers’ experiences with such a large audience. I was delighted it was so well received .”
Programme Director Irene Oldfather added "Tommy's experiences are changing the way in which health and social care professionals see their job. Our simple message is ‘You can make a difference’. Dementia Carer Voices is delighted to work in partnership with key stakeholders to put people with dementia and their carers at the heart of services.
We are proud to announce that our Dementia Carer Voices Project Engagement Lead, Tommy Whitelaw, has been presented with one of NHS Greater Glasgow & Clyde’s annual Chairman’s Awards for his campaigning work on behalf of people with dementia and their carers.
Now in their fifth year, the awards recognise members of staff, or teams that have found ways to deliver benefits to patients and service users, colleagues or NHSGGC.
Tommy was nominated within the Patient Ambassador category, which recognises members of the public and staff who provide outstanding help or support through providing patient opinions. The winners were announced before the Health Board’s public Annual Review event and were presented with their awards by Cabinet Secretary for Health and Wellbeing, Alex Neil.
His nominator said on the entry form “personally Tommy has made me more aware of the needs of vulnerable patients and carers. Professionally, Tommy has highlighted gaps in health care which are simple to address. Through communication and understanding, health care providers can improve the patient journey.”
Tommy said “I’m honoured not only to receive the award but by the ongoing support and kindness NHS Greater Glasgow & Clyde staff have shown to me, giving me the opportunity to speak out and help others.”
· Record numbers of carers are missing out on vital financial support due to a lack of advice (Carers Scotland)
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