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Coronavirus impact on care sector follows years of low status and neglect

talking local government

Release Date: 04/15/2020

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talking local government

Karolina Gerlich of the Care Workers Charity describes current pressures on care workers but their roots lie in years of failure to resolve the sector’s status and funding.

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talking local government

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Karolina Gerlich of the Care Workers Charity describes current pressures on care workers but their roots lie in years of failure to resolve the sector’s status and funding.

More people work in social care than in the NHS – 2 million across the UK compared with 1.3 million in the health service.

They may be working in care homes or delivering care to people in their own homes. They might be employed by agencies or local authorities or charities, or by individuals. They could be paid with public, private or charitable funds.

As Karolina explains, good care provision reduces demand on the NHS including reducing hospital stays, while care workers – often regarded as low skilled because they are poorly paid – are increasingly taking on clinical duties once performed by district or community nurses.

And yet care workers do not enjoy the status or recognition of NHS workers and the sector is chronically underfunded, with decisions about its long term future endlessly postponed over the last decade.

Maybe, in what Karolina refers to as a ‘tiny silver lining’, the current crisis will see these things addressed.