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I can almost hear the audible sigh of relief from care providers as the summer holidays draw to a close. Getting through each summer period unscathed is surely a miracle in itself. Care staff’s holidays and sickness have such a huge impact on a provider’s ability to provide a decent safe service.
So, as we take time to sit and reflect on lessons learnt, our thoughts naturally turn to those who have worked extra hard and helped out at the toughest of times.
Most care staff work tirelessly and for very little praise or monetary reward
They are the SAS equivalent of the health and social care industry, working in all weathers, conditions, isolated from other colleagues and often walking our streets alone and unnoticed by the general public.
The risk to our workforce is always there and can never be mitigated despite your best risk assessing skills. An incident just last week brought this very fact home to us in the most brutal of ways. One of our hard-working carers has dedicated most of her life to caring for others, and in particular those most vulnerable in our communities. She has been employed by our organisation for seven years and in all that time I cannot recall her ever ringing in sick. Let's call this special lady "Joan" (possibly because that's her name). Joan was walking between her service users’ homes, for her final visit of the morning. A car pulls up beside her, a male jumps out and forcibly takes her handbag before racing off. Joan rings the police, understandably upset. When they advise they are coming out to meet her, Joan tells them they will have to wait until she has finished visiting her last service user. Because, as Joan said, the lady was expecting her. She needed Joan to visit and therefore that's where Joan was headed regardless of the dramatic and horrific experience she had just been subjected to.
A dedicated workforce
Joan will not want me to trumpet her in this way. She will blush and give a shy smile before reiterating that "It's just my job". But did I also mention that it's Joan’s birthday this week and she will be celebrating her 77th year?
Our social care workforce across England is made up of some extraordinarily robust and dedicated people, committed to looking after others whilst putting their own welfare and, at times, personal risk to one side. They are an inspiration to others and a demonstration in how we should treat each other.