Our Chief Executive, Lesslie Young looks at how our appreciation for the NHS and social care workers must continue once the COVID19 pandemic is over.
Every Thursday at 8pm the nation rises as one to clap for our NHS and social care workers. It is a moment when everyone stops to reflect and to thank the people on the frontline of COVID19.
During this pandemic, our key workers have rightly been labelled as heroes. They leave their homes and loved ones to fight and supress this new unpredictable foe. They selflessly care for and protect strangers, our loved ones, their loved ones. By doing so, at least 130 have paid the ultimate price.
Our incredibly dedicated NHS and social care workers have been carrying out these selfless acts for decades.
They bring us into this world, look after us throughout our lives and do everything they can to ensure we leave this world as comfortably as possible. Throughout, everything is done to preserve our dignity.
They are and always will be, the backbone of our society. Whilst the environments, times and challenges may differ there is one undeniable constant – their desire to care.
It is sad it has taken this pandemic for us to really appreciate what they do for us. Coronavirus has opened our eyes to the incredibly difficult situations and environments they work in, the huge pressure they are under, the significant loss of life and its impact on them as people.
Just over two months ago our care sector workers were labelled as “low skilled.” They are underpaid, unsupported, and until now underappreciated. But they are anything but low skilled.
In Scotland, half of COVID19 deaths are taking place in care homes. This is a stark illustration of how our care sector was not properly supported to manage a pandemic.
Numerous reports suggest many social care workers are working without appropriate Personal Protective Equipment (PPE). They are looking after the most vulnerable in our society; so why were they not properly supported?
COVID19 has and will continue to teach us many lessons. How many will be put into practice? Does society’s moral compass need resetting?
When we place the lives of our loved ones in the hands of others – because of illness, accident, age, or disability – we want their carers to be exactly like those we are clapping for every Thursday.
Why then, while they have been caring for us for decades, have we not cared enough for them by ensuring they are fully supported?
As much effort as they make caring for us, keeping us alive, should be made by us to make sure they have the right equipment, the right training, the right working conditions and of course they are remunerated fairly.
The evidence is very clear. Our society needs to invest heavily in its social care sector. It can no longer sit at the bottom of the list when it comes to wages, training and working conditions.
The level of investment must reflect the vital work these individuals do and the responsibility they shoulder when we place the life of another human being in their hands.
Our clapping must be the catalyst for radical change in social care; our society depends on it.