Who else stood on their doorstep clapping for the NHS heroes and also feeling like a hero, but without the recognition?
Our frontline workers were putting themselves on the line every day for the people we support. Keeping people safe was our top priority and everyone did an amazing job. The sacrifices that support workers made, their commitment and care throughout the pandemic has been outstanding and needs recognition from the top.
In January this year, I was invited to a meeting with Deborah Sturdy (Interim Chief Nurse for Adult Social Care) to talk about some projects that I am leading on. During these discussions I shared some experiences where I felt the hospital care for people we support had been below standard. I spoke about how COVID-19 has been a real challenge for the learning disability sector. Often, people who are unable to communicate and anxious about what is happening in hospital are labelled as challenging, and return home without receiving treatment. We discussed how we overcame these situations and how we were able to challenge the professionals. Deborah asked if I would consider becoming a member of her advisory panel to help change these experiences for people, and to get recognition for our social care front line workers. I did not need time to consider… it was a “yes” from me!
One of Deborah’s main priorities has been to raise the profile of the social care nursing workforce and celebrate their huge contribution during the pandemic. The Nursing and Care Advisory Group is comprised of 12 key stakeholders from the sector and provides a forum for sharing views about issues affecting the social care workforce. The group will give a voice to care workers, bring connectivity across social care professions and provide links with clinical settings and care workers for input from the wider, unregulated workforce.
Some of our objectives will be to:
- provide a voice for social care nurses, care workers and social workers
- provide professional advice and practical insight to help inform policy thinking
- share ideas from practice and feedback from frontline experience
- provide frontline/sector expertise to help inform DHSC’s policy development on social care nursing, social work and overall care
- support communications on social care nursing and the wider workforce in the media and general public
- help share key messages and guidance to the sector, including through the media.
This is an exciting and new opportunity to be part of something that can challenge for reform and to make a real difference in the way people are supported. We will also acknowledge and celebrate the tireless commitment and amazing work that our staff does for the people we support.