Above and beyond

Prof Green makes the point that care staff are once again proving to be the sector’s most valuable resource

The Covid-19 crisis has underlined the important role social care plays in our national life, but it has also underlined the fragmentation in the system.

I am determined that when this crisis is over, we are going to have a repositioning of social care and a wider recognition of its vital importance.

Sadly, the pandemic has, and will continue to, affect us all. I am heartened by the attitude of care providers who up and down the country have asked what more they can do to help.

I am mindful that by the time of publication this article may be woefully out of date as things are changing minute by minute.

With any luck by such time the much talked almost instantaneous coronavirus tests will be available not only for NHS employees, but for social care staff too.

With schools now closed and the shrinking pool of workforce it is even more important for us to position ourselves as front line staff and frankly the coronavirus demonstrates this only too clearly.

We have been absolutely clear from the outset that care homes simply cannot and will not be able to help the NHS clear their beds unless and until testing is in place.


Umpteen negotiations have taken place with senior officials and ministers with some giving false promise whilst others have been rolling up their sleeves and getting to grips with the situation.

The other major factor is of course Personal Protective Equipment.

At last I have more confidence that the supply lines are open to social care providers and that essential equipment will not be commandeered by the NHS.

‘I am determined that when this crisis is over, we are going to have a repositioning of social care and a wider recognition of its vital importance.’

Our staff, our best and most valuable resource, needs to be cherished, supported and retained during this crisis.

I have been blown away by the innovation displayed by both teams and individuals in their pragmatism and genuine desire to go above and beyond their duties to those in their care often at substantial risk to them and their families.

Care homes are first and foremost somebody’s home thus the restriction on visitors is a tough call.

Unfortunately, life and death will continue regardless of the coronavirus and thus it is futile to give a blanket ban to all visitors; providers need to be sensitive and use their discretion and commonsense.

It is perhaps at times like these that we see what unsung heroes our staff really are.

Having recently experienced a period of self-isolation myself I can empathise with those members of staff having to impose restrictions often on people who cannot comprehend why it is necessary.

Our members who look after adults with learning disabilities have their own unique challenges and I am proud of them for adapting with such skill.

The pooling of staff is a good intention and arguably good public relations for our sector as should local authority staff be requisitioned to our care homes they will gain a better understanding of just how challenging and rewarding the work is; there is no doubt that caring is a skilled profession and it gives us all the more ammunition to deal with the Migration Advisory Committee.

Care England is doing its utmost to help providers.

We are dogged in our determination to get providers’ questions answered and the best outcome for all whilst fighting this pandemic.