I was saddened to hear of Claire Rayner’s death yesterday. She was a talented broadcaster, journalist, author, ‘agony aunt’ and patients’ campaigner.
Many years ago, I was privileged to share a platform with Claire, when we were both speakers at a healthcare event. I was very young and quite nervous and this effervescent, warm and formidable woman was very kind to me and generous in her praise.
‘Passionate’ is an over used adjective but Claire truly was passionate about patients rights and ensuring that everyone had access to vital information on health and wellbeing. She happily broke through taboos in the 80’s, speaking and writing frankly on sexual, emotional and physical matters never before discussed openly in the popular media. As her husband Des stated yesterday, ‘Right up until her death she was being consulted by both politicians and the medical profession about the best way to provide the health services the nation deserved and nothing mattered more to her than that’
Apparently Claire left a message for the PM in a statement to be issued after her death:
‘Tell David Cameron that if he screws up my beloved NHS I’ll come back and bloody haunt him’
I can imagine that despite failing health, Claire would have still managed a wry smile with that comment.
And I have no doubt that she meant every word…