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From ‘Unskilled’ to ‘Key Workers’ - Will the Novel Coronavirus pandemic fix the Social Care crisis?

Care Work

Nicola Knight blog, vetro-care, thank you...

Social care is a vital service in the UK, yet research undertaken by the Federation of Small Businesses shows we face ‘severe staffing shortages’. (Feb. 2020). With an ageing population and Government funding cuts, it is not surprising that this sector faces a shortage of workers. 

Care workers provide practical and supportive services to clients, from day-to-day lifestyle chores to managing various health issues, including those unpleasant for many people. They are caring, empathetic and patient; they are resilient, tolerant and good communicators; they are flexible often working long, unsociable shifts; and they are tactful, respectful and committed. Care workers have these vast characteristics and abilities, yet they are only paid at the National Living Wage level.

Care workers work extremely hard to ensure their clients live the best life they possibly can through challenging circumstances.

In February 2020, the Government ‘labelled’ care workers as ‘unskilled’ in the post-Brexit discussions about immigration control.

Health and social care professionals took to social media to share their outrage at this statement, and understandably so.

Fast forward a few weeks...

The world has been thrown into complete turmoil with the global COVID-19 pandemic; a virus so dangerous that countries, including the UK, have been brought to an almost standstill as the Government works through the 4 stages of their response plan and the UK goes into a ‘lockdown’.

Boris Johnson addressed the nation as we entered the second ‘delay’ stage and a list of ‘Essential Key Workers’ was released… Care Workers are amongst these key workers.

Are the care workers finally receiving the appreciation, recognition and gratitude they actually deserve?

We know the novel coronavirus poses a greater threat to the elderly and the vulnerable and our key workers have continued to make us proud with their continued strength to always put their clients first. They know the threat of falling ill with COVID-19 is greater for them. They are having to completely isolate themselves from their own families to provide the level of care required and yet they work harder and longer hours than ever before.

Are care workers receiving the financial rewards or the essential resources that have been lacking for too many years now? Sadly not just yet!

These amazing care workers continue to do the job they do because of their core skills and attributes.

They are not ‘unskilled’ at all! In fact, care workers are hidden heroes. They do the job they do because of their passion! Until there is a need for care workers, they are always a forgotten resource.

So many people don't understand the social care industry, including the Government. Now more than ever, care workers play a vital role in the fight against COVID-19. We hope that finally, the social care industry will be noticed and the Government put the reforms in place to fix our current social care crisis.

Vic Rayner, the executive director of the National Care Forum, wrote for The Guardian (20th March 2020) commenting on not only care workers’ ‘selflessness and heroism’, but also for Government to recognise that care workers need the right information and equipment to enable them to work safely, believing this will be,

“the true test of the government and society’s commitment to enabling social care to play its part”. 

We are proud of every one of our workers at Vetro! Thank you for all that you do.

If you would like to join the Vetro team, please browse our live jobs here.