- Notwithstanding the hard work and commitment of a section of society, things have been difficult for adult social care
- According to a recent report by the British Parliament, nearly 25 thousand of coronavirus infected patients were forced in to care homes
- The government might levy additional charges in the form of an insurance premium or a tax for middle-aged people to cover for their social care cost
The outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic has posed severe and immense challenges to the nation’s greatest asset, National Health Service (NHS) and social care services across the UK. The NHS and the adult social care sector had to act quickly to get ready for the impact of the pandemic within hospitals and care homes after the first cases of COVID-19 in England were reported in the latter half of January (2020).
The government had allocated an additional £6.6 billion to support the health and social care response by the end of April (2020). In addition, nearly £3.2 billion of capital was provided to local authorities to help ease pressures on local services such as social care.
Despite the hard work and commitment of a section of society, things have been difficult for adult social care. Care homes were deprived of the support they needed during the peak of the unprecedented crisis. In fact, these institutions have witnessed policy paralysis, funding cuts, and have been ignored by the governments for years. In addition, coronavirus pandemic has shown the tragic impact of delaying much needed social care reform.
How prepared was the sector to face the challenge of Covid-19
As the unprecedented crisis unfolded, the health and social care sector had to react quickly, including making necessary changes to the way services are provided. Moreover, the NHS was under immense pressure to manage its resources so that it can serve the country in the best possible manner. According to a recent report by the British Parliament, nearly 25 thousand of coronavirus infected patients were forced in to care homes, without being tested for the deadly virus. Care Home inhabitants were put in a vulnerable state as there was a potential risk of virus spread. This can be attributed to the fact that due to an unprecedented rise in the number of coronavirus patients, the NHS was under extreme pressure. Lack of an adequate number of hospital beds, ventilators, and protective gear mounted severe pressure on the NHS.
Lack of PPE, rising number of deaths and the vulnerability of the NHS instilled fear in this section of the society during the peak of the coronavirus crisis. It has been found that elderly people and children are soft targets for the deadly virus. The virus tends to attack the respiratory system of the human and eventually leads to multiple organ failure. Once the virus gets through the doors of these care homes, it would be a disaster as the chances for survival are very slim.
Care homes are already fighting on multiple fronts, such as lack of equipment and staff. The outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic has mounted excessive pressure on the already battered section of the society. Elderly people, who need a lot of care are not able to meet their family and friends. Moreover, they are confined to rooms and living in a state of fear and vulnerability. Managing care homes is a typical job. Elderly people need far more attention in comparison to middle-aged or young people, and most of these elderly people need close monitoring.
The crisis-induced by coronavirus pandemic has divided families as care homes went into lockdown to protect their residents. The care assistants did their best to serve the residents of the care homes. People living in these care homes are mostly senior citizens. Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) put these homes to great risk by placing untested people in these care homes. According to some media report, some of the care homes were infected by the coronavirus pandemic. The number of deaths in these care homes due to the coronavirus was also not recorded properly. The deadly virus has claimed more than 45 thousand deaths in the UK, according to the World Health Organisation (WHO) data.
Everybody’s life should be valued equally. Irrespective of whether one is young or old. People of all age groups, directly or indirectly, shape and contribute to society. These old age people deserve the right to live, and the government should intervene to make sure that they are safeguarded and served in the best possible way.
Bringing reforms in the social care system in the UK has been a long-running agenda of the government. There is a need for a complete system overhaul, and the future of social care needs to be secured. More than a year ago, in June 2019, Boris Johnson, the British Prime Minister, had promised to bring out a comprehensive set of social care reforms. Reportedly, the government might levy additional charges in the form of an insurance premium or a tax for middle-aged people to cover for their social care cost in the years to come.
The British Prime Minister has been mulling over levying taxes to fund the cost of social care. However, the timing of the much-awaited reforms is a cause of concern for the treasury as the government has already piled on a lot of public debt by facilitating several support schemes to protect the economy.
There has been a lack of clarity when it comes to shouldering responsibilities, which are spread between the local authorities, the Department of Health and Social Care, and the care providers. The coronavirus pandemic took an unprecedented toll on the global economy along with the healthcare facilities and medical science. None of the countries could have ever imagined or was prepared for such a catastrophic scenario. While the situation started getting worse day by day, the government was making makeshift arrangements to tackle the scenario. The UK witnessed a confusing situation as it has poor control over the critical sections of the society due to unclear responsibilities and accountabilities. There has been a lack of consistent and coherent guidance throughout the unprecedented crisis.
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