Kate Garraway: I have huge debts from husband's care

Kate Garraway has said the cost of care for her late husband Derek Draper has left her with huge debts.

She was speaking in her latest documentary, Kate Garraway: Derek's Story. Draper died aged 56 from the long-term effects of Covid, in January.

While acknowledging her job as a presenter on GMB was well-paid, Garraway said the £16,000-a-month care costs were more than her ITV salary.

Draper is heard speaking on camera during the programme.

It is the first time he has been heard during the documentary series. He says: "I want you to hear my story... I want to be heard."

The documentary focuses on the last year of his life, as Garraway highlights the problems in the care system.

Speaking before her husband's death, she said: "Derek's care costs more than my salary from ITV and that is before you pay for a mortgage, before you pay any household bills, before you pay for anything for the kids, so we are at a crunch point.

"I am in debt. I can't earn enough money to cover my debt because I am managing Derek's care and I can't even use the money I do have to support Derek's recovery, because it's going on the basics all the time."

She added: "I'm not going to pretend that I am poorly paid, I have an incredible job that I love, which is well-paid, but it's not enough."

The presenter has previously documented the impact of caring for her husband in two other ITV programmes - Finding Derek and Caring For Derek.

In the latest show, which airs on Tuesday evening on ITV, she says: "Time and time again the system tell us that Derek isn't sick enough, doesn't have enough of a health need to qualify for funded care.

"I've appealed but that still hasn't been processed two-and-a-half, three years later. If this is what it's like for me, what on earth is it like for everybody else?"

'Falling off a cliff'

She adds: "Something has to be done, or the whole service, the people working in it, everything, is going to break. Derek's care, the basic needs, not including any therapy, which I am happy to pay on top, is nearly £4,000 a week. How can I afford that? How can anybody afford £16,000 a month?

"We are entirely reliant on extraordinary carers, but the system in which they work in unbelievably complicated, and underfunded, and trying to meet an impossible need.

"Why is it that people who get sick and it's no longer considered the right thing for them to be in hospital... why does coming home feel like falling off a cliff?"

Analysis by Alison Holt, BBC Social Affairs editor

Kate Garraway is far from alone in struggling with what can grow into the terrifyingly large costs of providing care week in, week out.

With an ageing population and more people living with complex conditions, reform of the way adult social care is funded has been promised for a long time. Yet, government after government has failed to grasp the nettle.

Families, usually at a time of crisis, are confronted with a complicated and unhelpful system. Only those with high needs and assets of less than £23,250 are eligible for council-funded care - a financial threshold that hasn't changed for well over a decade.

People who are severely disabled or have extremely high health needs may get NHS funded care, but many have told the BBC getting that help is an increasing battle. It is a system that leaves many family carers feeling abandoned financially and emotionally.