Now that we have reached the final month of 2022 we can look back and reflect on a year that should have been one of rebuilding and recognition. The coronavirus pandemic hit the world hard in 2020 and almost two years later we would hope that the isolation, confusion, sadness, and loss would be a distant memory but for the social care sector many of the issues raised by the pandemic are still largely prominent.
Since 2020 we have seen three Prime Ministers in power, and five Secretaries of State for Health and Social Care and yet the promised changes and restructures are yet to be seen.
At The Care Workers’ Charity, we have seen a huge rise in demand for our grants to the point where we had to close certain programmes for a periods of time. We hugely appreciate all the support, donations, event participation and good will from the sector.
Since 2020 we have issued 6,240 Grants to care workers in crisis totalling almost £3.9 million. These grants have been a lifeline for so many, keeping care workers in the sector at a time when many would have had no choice but to leave and look for work in sectors where there is more financial gain despite their caring nature and love for the job and those they care for.
We have spoken to care workers who feel completely let down by the government while their counterparts in the NHS are offered pay rises, training, support, and recognition.
Care workers do amazing work every day – particularly over the last few years. While restrictions kept family members and friends away, care workers became not just caregivers but companions and lifelines. Bringing supplies, medication and smiles to those who suffered most through covid. While the headlines were filled with statistics of death, care workers knew the names behind those statistics and they felt the pain of each one while remaining positive and continuing through their grief to keep others safe.
As a sector we face competition from other industries like retail where companies can afford to increase pay rates that attract new staff, but social care funding does not give care providers that luxury. With the current cost-of-living crisis meaning food, fuel and energy prices continue to rise many care workers’ feel pressured to leave a role that they love in order to survive financially.
This year, as before, we have campaigned for the workforce. We submitted evidence to Government enquiries sharing the perspective of frontline care workers – this year we were quoted in a Health and Social Care Committee Special Report evaluating the Government’s commitments to the workforce. We have a seat at the table at major sector roundtables and national provider forums. We use this position to share what we hear from our grant applicants day in and day out, ensuring that people are considering the impact of their decisions on the workforce and quality of care. We push for reform, increased funding from the central government, increased pay, professionalisation and recognition at every opportunity.
While some of us can sit down with our families this Christmas let us spare a thought for those in our workforce who will work throughout the festive season. At The Care Workers’ Charity, we are proud to support care workers and have such admiration for the amazing work you all do every day.