The junior doctors’ strike planned for tomorrow 26th and 27th April has placed social care on high alert with providers and care workers standing by to care and support the most vulnerable, often frail elderly and disabled in society, to manage during the industrial action.
Chairman of the Care Workers Charity, Dr Asif Raja, a former junior doctor, said “Social Care providers and Care Workers of the country will, as they do, day in day out, be there to care and support for the people in their care. They are often the unsung heroes, caring for the most vulnerable in society and this is yet more pressure to the already difficult and challenging circumstances care workers and providers face.”
Social care providers and care workers are hopeful the strike action can be averted even at this late stage. The BMA have agreed to call off the strike if the Secretary of State removes the threat of imposition of the new contract whilst also facing legal challenges and judicial review.
Care workers play a pivotal role in supporting health and wellbeing within care and nursing homes, extra care and sheltered/supported housing as well as out in the community within people’s own homes and can often be the only contact some vulnerable people have with the outside world.
Dr Asif Raja commented; “There continues to be insufficient funding to meet needs. In the face of increased longevity and an aging population more and more illnesses and treatment options, the need for a joined up approach to the commissioning of health and social care has never been more important.
“The cycle of pressures upon social care which contribute further to the pressures upon the NHS will continue until a meaningful approach is taken that recognises the role of the people who work so tirelessly within the system.
“This industrial action represents a failure to listen.
“Whilst we are of course drawn to focus on the details of the dispute and the impact it has on routine as well as emergency services; it’s important to acknowledge and support the invaluable work that care workers and social care providers will be doing to help to keep the vulnerable and elderly safe and well during this time.
“This is an unprecedented strike and the health and care system has never been tested in this way before. Everyone shares the objective of ensuring patient safety and wellbeing, which is why social care providers are supporting the work of NHS England, DH and DCLG in preparing for the increased pressure.
“Social care plays an incredibly valuable role in preventing unnecessary attendance at A&E and supporting safe and timely discharge, putting the wellbeing of people and their families first.”
To help support hospitals over this period of increased pressure, NHS England has specifically asked the sector to consider whether there are any routine, non-urgent, medical appointments or tasks that can either be completed this week before the strike, or delayed such as routine GP visits or arranging repeat prescriptions.
NHS England has also asked that the sector does all it can to maximise transfers out of hospital, both ahead of the strike taking place, for those who no longer need acute medical care and are fit to move from hospital, and between 17.00 and 22.00 on strike days (when the Junior Doctor’s will return for the night shift and we expect there to be an increase in discharges).
To support carers and providers in identifying the most appropriate care during the period, NHSChoices will have a specific strike page detailing the extended services being provided in local areas. This will form part of a wider public campaign run by the NHS aimed at reducing pressures on services by a) advising patients of alternative local services and b) encouraging people to take action in advance to prevent health deterioration during period of IA, whilst also maintaining trust and confidence in services.
Should you have any concerns we recommend that you alert your local Director of Adult Social Services (DASS).
DH has asked us to reiterate our thanks to all those who are working hard across the country to support the delivery of health and care during this challenging time.
The Care Workers Charity is a national charity that aims to provide help to current, former and retired care workers who, through no fault of their own, have fallen on hard times
To find out more about the charity, help fundraise or enquire about how they can help you please visit their website http://www.thecareworkerscharity.org.uk/ Or email at firstname.lastname@example.org