Meeting Sarah Gravenstede
Following on from Mad March and my Modelling the 28th saw me meet Sarah Gravenstede. She is the Deputy Director of strategy for the Department of Health and Social Care. She works with Caroline Dineage, the care minister and Matt Hancock the Minister for Health and Social Care.
After being given my ‘Points of Light’ award last December, I tried to get my foot in the Government’s door. I wanted to be a spokesperson for carers and elderly people. Due to some Brexit thing happening, I couldn’t secure a meeting with Caroline or Nick, but Sarah was available to meet me.
After a 4-hour coach journey costing £23 return with Stagecoach…. and having got lost. I turned the wrong way as I exited Victoria coach station! Finally, I arrived at the office for the Dept of Health and Social Care pictured above. Interestingly, I noticed there was no sign to say what was housed inside.
I had had weeks to prepare for the meeting but confess to leaving it to the last minute! By last minute, I mean very last minute. I was still drawing my mind map bubbles and notes when Sarah came across to meet me! To be honest, I knew what I wanted to say, it has only taken me 5 years to get the opportunity to do so!!!!
I was fortunate enough to be given one hour of her undivided attention. She is a very gentle person and I hope I am not mistaken, but I genuinely believe she did listen and she did take notes. I raised the issue of incontinence pad rationing which she had no idea about. She has a medical background so I emphasised the issue of urine burns and pressure sores.
I raised the issue of the lack of respite care available and the quality when it was. People being sent home with other people’s teeth etc and people developing pressure sores from a lack of adequate re-positioning.
I suggested new purpose-built care homes have staff accommodation to help with recruitment and the fact that most care workers can’t afford market rent let alone a mortgage.
We also discussed the fact that many carers are isolated and lonely. Financial limitations such as giving up work to care for a loved one and the pitifully low payment of carers allowance making social mobility totally impossible.
I also spoke of the fact that the care of our elderly is everyone’s responsibility and that corporates could play a part by letting staff have paid time off work to do voluntary work in their locality.
I came away from the meeting feeling positive. I am being consulted on the Green Paper when it does ever get published. I am sure a chocolate teapot will make a more useful item than a published paper that as always does nothing to change anything!