Naomi Carey, Director of People and Organisation Development for The Disabilities Trust, said: “Since March I have been even prouder of the resilience, commitment and determination of our staff at The Disabilities Trust in the face of coronavirus and the challenges it has bought. While the country shut down and stayed at home to stop the spread, our staff continued to go to work and look after those in our care. They all made personal sacrifices to make sure we kept ourselves, our clients and our colleagues safe, whilst still providing high quality care and rehabilitation. However we continue to be frustrated by the lack of funding to ensure meaningful recognition and appropriate reward for those who work in social care. It cannot be right that we spent our Spring clapping for our carers but that the sector continues to be underfunded and undervalued whilst social care staff worked so hard to steer some of our most vulnerable through this crisis. Whilst we recognise that the narrative from Government has shifted slightly to provide an increased recognition of social care, those warm words must to be backed up with meaningful policy and practice change.
Today The Disabilities Trust has submitted evidence to the Health and Social Care Committee Workforce Burnout Inquiry. We have called for the development of a People Plan for social care equivalent to the NHS Peoples Plan which articulates the how employees’ well-being will be supported, how the sector can utilise employees’ experience and skills as well as how social care staff will be recruited and retained. We state there must be a positive focus on recognition, reward and professionalism for the social care workforce which values, appreciates and recognises their dedication, care and passion and appropriate funding for social care providers to enable this to happen.
Throughout the pandemic, those in the NHS and social care have worked hard to navigate the government guidance and apply it to a variety of settings. However as social care providers, instead of receiving clear plans, relevant advice, and guidance from the authorities, we were inundated with fast changing and often contradictory information from different official sources, which was mostly tailored as guidance for elderly care.
It is critical that out of all the challenges and hardship from COVID-19 we build towards professionalisation and appropriate recognition in the adult social care sector. While the workforce has shown huge resilience, it can only be as resilient as the funding and support behind it. There must be adequate long-term support for the sector and appropriate reward for the skilled and vital role that staff working in social care provide which helps to ease demand on the NHS. The time has come to rethink how we view social care and value those who work in it.”