If it’s no longer about money, about budget cuts or being more
efficient. If it’s about being practice led rather than finance
driven, if it’s about effectiveness rather than cost then one outcome
of the response to Convid might be to finally make a reality of the
integration of health and social care.
If hospitals are not to be overwhelmed then patients need to be
moved to nursing homes and residential care homes, more places need to
be funded, care businesses financially supported. If social isolation
is the key strategy in preventing the rapid spread of the virus and
reducing deaths amongst vulnerable groups then adult social services,
the local authority, the voluntary, faith and not for profit sector
need an emergency funding package similar to that produced for the
economy last week by the treasurer. Removing the financial barriers to
supporting people in their own homes and in care homes will free up
What may start out as a crisis measure could turn out to be the long
term solution to an ageing population those in the field have been
demanding. If we can find the money now, if we can see the benefits of
increased funding, if the public mind set is radically shifted then
politicians may be emboldened.
In the longer term we could use this crisis to raise the status of
care work, be that nurses in hospitals or the community and care
assistants in Homes and in the community but that may be over
optimistic. The Second World War provided opportunities to women and
was a powerful argument for equality of opportunity . But when the war
was over women were expected to return to being house wives and home
makers. I hope society can take this opportunity to have a rethink
about the value we place on some historically undervalued areas of work.
If Covin finally made politicians tackle issues they have been
avoiding as too difficult then some good may come out of this
terrifying situation we find are selves in.
Blair Mcpherson former Director of community services, author and