Kate responds to the disappointing government u-turn on fixing the ‘crisis in social care’
As the country comes to terms with the emotional loss of losing so many loved ones, the financial cost to the UK economy continues to grow with hundreds of billions having been spent on the Covid response. Not only have costs increased, income has reduced with less being collected in tax and VAT as many people are furloughed and shops closed.
Yet, whilst appreciating that the government has a big task on their hands it was a disappointing week to read The Times suggesting that the Prime Minister is going to delay any announcement about social care reform because of the impact on either tax rises or cuts elsewhere. Although proposals and call for reform go long before Boris Johnson, the Prime Minister said in his first speech as PM that he would “fix the crisis in social care”. High hopes dashed again…
One of the few positive things to come from Covid has been the recognition and increased profile of social care and those who provide it. There have been small steps toward improved public awareness that adult social care includes adults with physical or learning disabilities, mental health conditions and autistic people; and that working in social care is a meaningful, valuable and skilled profession. So we continue to make some noise with our BetterPay4SocialCare Campaign and petition that currently has more than 3,500 signatures and 21 other social care organisations who have signed up. We have also joined the Future Social Care Coalition to combine our efforts and create a louder voice. Whilst we are realistic enough to know that we have a huge mountain to climb, we are bold and brave enough to make our way up said mountain slowly!
We have been encouraging frontline employees to take regular PCR swab tests every week and have also registered to become a collect point for Lateral Flow Tests for all employees and people we support. We hope to receive the first batch of LF Tests in the next few days. This will enable asymptomatic employees, relatives and people we support to get quick confirmation of their Covid status.
On top of the extensive measures we continue to take to ensure working arrangements are Covid secure, the vaccine provides a greater level of personal safety against serious illness. Because of this we strongly encourage employees to following government guidance and take up the opportunity to have the vaccine, and the vast majority of employees and people we support have been vaccinated. However, individual opinions can vary and we appreciate that having a vaccine is a personal choice, sometimes dictated by personal circumstances. Although a consultation is currently in progress regarding vaccinations for all social care employees working with older people, the Government has not made the taking of the vaccine mandatory and therefore it remains a voluntary exercise for our employees.
And on that note, another thank you to employees and relatives who are helping us to keep infection rates under control as I can confirm no new Covid cases this week amongst people we support or employees.