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Social care remains undervalued

By Caring Times editor GEOFF HODGSON

Given the measures being implemented to combat the spread of coronavirus, it is clear that those those in authority are going to have to make some difficult deisions, not least of which is deciding who gets priority in the allocation of testing kits and personal protection equipment.

Immediately available resources are limited and, at present, it appears that the NHS is being given precedence but this leaves frail, elderly people, often with concomitant medical conditions, that is care home residents, at greatly increased risk of dying as a consequence of infection by coronavirus. Care staff too, are being asked to put themselves at greater risk than that faced by their better protected colleagues in the NHS.

Frankly, I’m not sure that the government has got this right and that we are now paying the price of the long-standing disconnect between health and social care. With a little logistical nous, spare capacity in social care could have been commandeered, massively reducing the pressure on the NHS and making best use of the social care workforce.

Social care might be playing a lead role instead of being sidelined and left to cope as best it can. Our sector can be very proud of its performance in recent days; mortality rates and occupancy figures suggest that care home residents are being well-protected from the virus, and that those who have tested positive are receiving the very best of care.

The professionalism and dedication of care staff is a shining light and will hopefully go far to elevate the image of our sector, and see care workers rewarded once this crisis has passed. But social care could do so much more in the fight against coronavirus if the decision-makers had a better appreciation of its value.

  • The CT Blog is written in a personal capacity – comments and opinions expressed are not necessarily endorsed or supported by Caring Times.

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