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Looking to the future lessons from Covid-19

Kathy Roberts, chair of the Care Provider Alliance (CPA) explains how we can harness the experience of the pandemic to develop long-standing reform to social care.

Throughout the Covid-19 pandemic, health service provision has been the front and centre of peoples’ minds. It’s been an incredibly challenging year as we came together to protect lives and support our elderly and vulnerable clients in the face of a common enemy.

Our out-of-date, over-stretched care system, despite the love and dedication we have all committed to it, was creaking under the strain – and indeed, continues to do so.

But with vaccines bringing renewed hope, now is the time to look forward; to identify opportunities for real improvement and better collaboration with our healthcare partners.

It’s the chance to focus on making the entire care and support system genuinely and collectively for people in the UK as good as it possibly can be.

Mind the gap

One thing the pandemic has highlighted are the gaps in parity between NHS and social care.

The NHS, being the much cherished and protected household brand that it is, is instantly recognisable and valued by the public, and rightly so. Unfortunately, no such ‘ring of steel’ has been afforded to the care sector, even though it became clear very early on that our elderly and vulnerable, particularly in communal settings, were at the highest risk.

Government policy and guidance have also regularly lagged behind that of the NHS, and early access to enhanced infection prevention and control including PCR testing and PPE was limited.

But this is not about care providers complaining of playing ‘second fiddle’ to our NHS colleagues. It’s about recognising our incredible workforce and reinforcing the outstanding quality care offered to millions who rely on social care every day.

No more sticking plasters

Although short term governmental support during the pandemic has been very welcome, flexible negotiation for change going forward is essential. The Care Provider Alliance (CPA) will work alongside our colleagues to focus on outcomes for people, families and communities who draw on care services.

Employment within adult social care must also be as highly regarded and attractive as it is in other areas of the public sector with steps taken to make it so.

Crucially, CPA is pushing for our ADASS colleagues and system partners as well as the wider government to involve us in decision making from the start, including the development of Integrated Care Services. We also wish to eliminate the need for private payers to cross-subsidise statutory responsibilities.

Looking to the future

ADASS, LGA, CPA and others clearly see adult social care as a crucial part of a healthy society that must be treated as such.

The Care Provider Alliance believes central and local government must use the expertise, knowledge and experience available to them in strategically delivering care support appropriate for everyone. It’s about the debate, innovation and permanent reform.

Photo Credit – Pixabay

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