Kate Garraway admits she had to withdraw money from pension to cover husband's medical bills

Kate Garraway celebrated her first birthday since the death of her husband, Derek Draper, in January 2024. She has opened up about her financial struggles since then.

Kate Garraway husband death Derek Draper health cost debt medical bills
© Neil Mockford / Getty Images
Kate Garraway husband death Derek Draper health cost debt medical bills

British broadcaster and TV presenter Kate Garraway recently celebrated her first birthday without her husband. She has opened up about her numerous financial struggles since his passing, as she needs to pay off his massive medical bills. She has also said she needed to take money from her pension to keep afloat for now, but the candle is burning on both ends. Here's the latest.

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Kate Garraway's husband passed away in January 2024

Only days after New Year's Eve, on 3 January 2024, Kate Garraway announced that her husband, Derek Draper, had died after fighting for his life for the past four years. Draper had been struggling with his health since he got Covid-19 back in 2020.

Kate Garraway always remained at her husband's bedside, while also informing the public of the complications Covid-19 could bring in its midst.

Kate Garraway spoke openly about his issues to raise awareness

Derek Draper got sick just before lockdown, in March 2020, and he immediately had one of the worst cases his doctors had seen yet. Soon after his diagnosis, the author spent 98 days in a medically-induced coma at the hospital. As Kate Garraway explained, coronavirus had 'ravaged' her husband's body, and he was never the same. According to the BBC, he was reported as the longest surviving patient with coronavirus, having spent 184 days in and out of the intensive care unit. It was an exhausting time for both Derek and Kate, who also had to look after their two children, while going to work every day.

Derek Draper came back home 13 months after his diagnosis, which Kate Garraway found hopeful. She kept documenting her husband's ups and downs as the family tried to live with these new conditions, in both books and documentaries. Their story captured the attention of the nation, who gathered to send love and support to the Drapers. Kate Garraway's documentary entitled Finding Derek, which showed his return home, won her a National Television Award.

She has opened up about his medical bills

Between his diagnosis and his death, Derek Draper needed round-the-clock help from carers and medical professionals, which obviously cost a lot of money. Kate Garraway explained that after her husband's passing, she was left with between £500,000 and £800,000 of debt. In an ITV documentary from the beginning of 2024, she even admitted she could not afford to put the heating on last October.

In her latest documentary entitled Kate Garraway: Derek's Story, which showed the family struggling to find a new balance as Derek returned home and needed constant care, the TV presenter explained that her husband's monthly fees were around £160,000. It cost more than her salary as ITV's Good Morning Britain broadcaster. 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.
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.

Kate Garraway talked about the state of the NHS

In this documentary, Kate Garraway and her husband highlight the flaws in the British health system, as well as the poor situation of the National Health Service at the moment.

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?

According to the couple, they found themselves in a grey area where Derek was not 'sick enough' to get free health care, so the family had to fund everything themselves.

Time and time again the system tells us that Derek isn't sick enough, doesn't have enough of a health need to qualify for funded care.

Kate Garraway explained that this situation is happening to many families across the UK, who haven't got the same funds as the Drapers, and who go into extreme debt to get the medical support they need, on top of the emotional toll of caring for a sick or dying loved-one.

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?

Thanks to her speaking out, the broadcaster gave a voice to desperate carers all over the country, who are in need of support, both financial and emotional.

She had to cash in her pension to pay the bills

Because of her soul-crushing debt, Kate Garraway most recently revealed that she has had to take money from her retirement pension, which she was saving for later. Speaking on her show, Good Morning Britain, she explained:

I have had to withdraw the bit you can tax free from my pension to pay for belated bills for my husband, who has now passed away.

According to a Good Morning Britain survey, one in five people in the UK are getting themselves into massive debt because of unavoidable medical bills. Kate Garraway said:

People are having to do things - it wasn't a huge pension in the first place - which aren't what they saved for.

If you are a carer and in need of help, do not hesitate to contact Carers UK on 0808 808 7777.

Read more:

Kate Garraway rushed to hospital after ‘pains in chest’ as she took care of Derek Draper

Kate Garraway receives letters from royalty - her relationship with the Royal Family explained

Kate Garraway forced herself to do this when her husband was in a coma: 'I searched his last...'

Sources used:

Daily Mail: Kate Garraway admits she was forced to withdraw cash from her pension to pay the huge bills from late husband Derek Draper's medical care - after marking her first birthday since his death

BBC: Derek Draper: How Kate Garraway's heartbreak and hope captured a nation

Kate Garraway: How has the presenter been doing since the tragic death of husband Derek Draper? Kate Garraway: How has the presenter been doing since the tragic death of husband Derek Draper?