This week at adam, we are highlighting the challenges and work in the social care sector to shed light on the value it brings to those in care and what can be done to improve a struggling system.
The Covid-19 pandemic emphasised key issues within the UK care sector, making the challenges within social care glaringly obvious and putting the need for reform as a top priority for the Government.
Many staff working within the sector are struggling with low earnings, poor health and wellbeing, and inadequate working conditions. During the height of the pandemic, The Health Foundation reported “Social care workers [as being] among the occupational group at highest risk of COVID-19 mortality.” 76% of deaths from coronavirus, within this group, were care home workers and home carers.
The King’s fund added, that these are “longstanding issues” and “even before Covid-19, it was clear that the social care system is not fit for purpose and is failing the people who rely on it, their families and carers.”
With the cost of living rising further due to tax increases, higher food and fuel costs, and stagnation of wages, staff are also at risk of becoming homeless (Independent, Feb 2021). And in 2020, the Care Workers Charity, supported 3000 care workers in need, with emergency crisis grants (£200k).
David Richardson, Social Care Business Manager at adam spent 12 months working in domiciliary care during 2020 to help support the community. He said “It’s given me real insight into the challenges of providing care. The work that the carers do, which in my opinion, is very undervalued.”
He continues, “The value that it brings to society needs to be appreciated, with current conversations between the government and the sector hopefully going to happenand bring much needed change.”
In response, the Government released their plans to reform adult social care within England, producing the ‘Build Back Better’ plan in 2021. The proposed plans would be funded by the Health and Social Care Levy, raising approx. £5.4billion in funds for the sector.
However, failed to address low wages for carers and staff, other than as a potential increase to the minimum wage. And, from February 14th, Health and Social Care Secretary Sajid Javid will be traveling the country to discuss social care reforms with the industry, by visiting hospitals, care homes, cancer centres and cutting edge research facilities. His ‘road to recovery’ tour will focus on the Government’s recovery reform plans for social care.
There are plenty of ways for the public and individuals to get involved and support the sector.
Being part of the conversation. Ensure social care gets the support it needs to reform the sector; engage in discussions and support changes, whether this is at a local or national level.
Volunteering with a social care service. Get in depth understanding of the service by directly supporting carers through volunteer programs. Not only will this help the community and vulnerable people in care, it can also alleviate some pressure on the workload for staff members. adam Sales Development Manager, Brogan Archer volunteered at her local care home when she was 16, before becoming a Care Assistant, “I can now relate to some of the pains nurses and clinicians feel with staffing levels and it helped me to better understand patient requirements and standards of care.”
Supporting care charities and the #SocialCareFuture campaign. Don’t have time to get involved as a volunteer? Support awareness campaigns such as #SocialCareFuture which aims to bring understanding of the importance of social care to the public. Or support a social care charity either by donating, fundraising or sharing information about the challenges and issues within the sector.
This week our teams have been celebrating #YouCanCareWeek by sharing staff experiences working in the social care sector to help raise awareness of the work carers do.
Discover Brogan’s story here:
“The best part of the job was building relationships with the residents and working alongside a great team of staff.”
Discover David’s story here:
Working in Domiciliary Care was “a very steep learning curve but very rewarding and enjoyable.”
Why not share your own story of the social care sector? Whether you are a carer, work with a local council, are receiving care or know someone who is. Your story matters and helps to show how important UK social care services are.
At adam, we support local authorities through our social care procurement solution. This helps to connect councils and social care providers together to provide quality support to those in need. To find out more, contact our Social Care Business Development Manager, David Richardson today by booking a call.