The current lack of Personal Protection Equipment (PPE) for care workers in the community and residential care settings is symptomatic of how they, and the essential services they provide, are understood and valued”, Workers Party spokesperson Hugh Scullion has said.
“These workers are the Cinderella’s of the NHS”, Hugh claimed. “Over the last decade neither the Department of Health and Social Care, Assembly Heath Committees nor successive Health Minsters here have ever recognised the vital role that care workers play in our health system”.
“Is it any wonder than when a crisis like Covid 19 hits, that these staff are the least resourced and least supported”? he asked.
“It is galling in the extreme to see politicians at Stormont wringing their hands and promising to get things done, when they collapsed the Assembly and allowed a report 1 on community care, which recommended fundamental changes to the way care workers are valued, remunerated and resourced , to lie on a shelf gathering dust”, Hugh said
“When the NHS was founded by Nye Bevan in 1948 ‘Home Helps’ were the corner stone of the new service. Society has come a long way since then, but have we really developed the concept of community-based care and support sufficiently in that time?
Care on the cheap
“The reality is that we have been getting care ‘on the cheap’ for years now. We have been underpaying and under resourcing an increasingly skilled workforce, privatising many of the services, raiding the community care budget to make the books balance elsewhere, and deliberately failing to invest”
“Why should it take a world pandemic to wake us all up to the vital role played by care workers and their colleagues? Hugh concluded.
- ‘Power to People: proposals to reboot adult care and support in NI’ – DHSS&PS 2017 https://www.health-ni.gov.uk/sites/default/files/publications/health/power-to-people-full-report.PDF