Kate Garraway: I want my husband’s legacy to be fighting for care system change

Kate Garraway has said she wants her late husband’s legacy to be fighting for change in a care system which feels like it is “there to catch you out” when it should be there to “catch you when you fall”.

The TV star announced that her husband, Derek Draper, had died at the age of 56 in January, after a lengthy battle with the long-term effects of Covid.

The final year of his life was documented in a new programme, Kate Garraway: Derek’s Story – part of which was filmed after he died.

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Kate Garraway with Derek Draper and their children in 2019 (Steve Parsons/PA)

After his death, asked on the documentary if she had any regrets, Garraway said: “I think if I have any regret it’s every single minute that I didn’t spend holding his hand because I had to go and write an email, I had to go and make a phone call.

“Having to fight the system that should be there to catch you when you fall but feels, when you’re going through it, like it’s there to catch you out.

“And that’s what now I want to be Derek’s legacy: to fight on for that change.”

Garraway told the ITV programme the £16,000 monthly cost of her husband’s care was more than her salary from ITV and caused her to rack up huge debts.

She said: “The one thing Derek has taught me is never give up fighting for what is right.

“It’s not about Derek or me, it’s about having a society where caring isn’t a luxury.

“We are all going to need it and it’s not about somebody coming round to cut up your food because you’re feeling a bit weak, it’s about somebody giving you a chance of living, and it’s sort of belittled as that as though it’s not as valuable as the skill of a surgeon.

“The skill of a carer to spot when things are changing has saved Derek’s life so many times over the last four years and yes, it was finally taken, but my god those four years had value.”

She said people had tried to comfort her after Draper’s death by saying it must be in some way a relief that he is out of pain and her day is not consumed with caring for him.

“But there isn’t a relief,” Garraway said.

The presenter told ITV’s Good Morning Britain (GMB) that she was “ashamed” of the fact that the care bills for husband have left her in debt.

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Derek Draper died earlier this year after a long battle with the long-term effects of Covid (Tim Ireland/PA)

In the documentary, Garraway 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.”

Garraway told the documentary that they were informed “time and time again” that Draper was not “sick enough” and did not have enough of a health need to qualify for funded care.

“Something has to be done, or the whole service, the people working in it, everything is going to break,” she said.

“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?”

She told the documentary that her family did not have the heating on anywhere apart from Draper’s room, adding that “everything’s more expensive”.

The GMB star previously chronicled the impact of caring for her husband in two other ITV documentaries, Finding Derek and Caring For Derek.

The most recent programme featured Draper speaking on camera for the first time, saying: “I want you to hear my story.”