Now, it may just be us, but when we hear the term revolution we think the end of the Russian aristocracy in 1917 or the will-be-stuck-in-your-head-for-days song by The Beatles. Social care is not the first guess when you start discussing the next big revolution our society needs. However, it is by far one of the most important. And we’re not the only one’s who think so. “72% of adult care recipients and 78% of people caring for others believe there must be a better way to deliver care to adults and the elderly”. That’s over 70% of people on each side of the care system who know our current system is not enough.
It’s no secret that social care is suffering from an agonising lack of staff and funds left, right and centre. Almost daily there are articles on practically every news outlet clamouring for us all to wake up and financially support care providers, but there seems to be no real progress. Twitter is a regular reality check when care workers share stories from their day which shine a light on how the system is failing them. So, we at One Stop Social think the next step is a total revamp. Change up the system, strip the red tape and reawaken our passion for care.
The UK has a history of valuing the care sector, especially in comparison to other major countries like the US where their healthcare system is famed for being horrendously expensive, while ours aims to protect the most vulnerable. Nevertheless, it seems like we’ve lost our way with the NHS, care homes and other care providers suffering from political negotiations and the prioritisation of our private success. We couldn’t be prouder when our football or rugby teams achieve international success, but why don’t we aim for the same recognition for those who care for our parents, grandparents, spouses and children?
Care workers are a part of society who never ask for fame or glory and are always there to help those we love – even during terrible weather conditions – and yet we really aren’t doing enough to make their work easier. A care provider-patient relationship should work better than a marriage, as there needs to be an undeniable and unwavering trust and respect between the two as well as an honest friendship. Right now, care workers are being overloaded with so much work that this just isn’t always possible. If we were to change up the way the system is running, by providing more funding, encouraging recruitment through discounted training programmes or simplifying the regulations in place; then we could provide an outstanding quality of life to absolutely everyone who needs care.
Back in January 2016, the Rt Hon. Nicky Morgan delivered a speech noting the need for a revolution in social care, noting the value that both the care sector and social work play in sustaining our society. The system, she pointed out, was constraining practitioners across the UK in both social work and care; and restricting their freedom to innovate. We couldn’t agree more, which is why we like spotlighting the companies we come across that we think are bringing something new and creative to the industry we care so much about.
This need for a revolution of sorts to social care is across the whole of the UK, with the BBC reporting that Wales needs “a new national transformation programme to drive forward changes”, given the state of health and social care at the moment. Additionally the image around the NHS means situations more suited to social care aren’t always dealt with by the right people and the sector finds it harder to recruit – resulting in an inability to provide full care to everyone.
There’s a reason we are famed across the world for loving period TV dramas like Call the Midwife: we are proud of the sense of community that used to be synonymous with the phrase United Kingdom. So why not take that nostalgia and start a revolution for what really matters? Yes, the NHS needs our help and we should work tirelessly to keep the healthcare system that’s been there for us for so many decades, but the social care sector is sometimes seen as the poorer cousin, and that’s got to change. The time has come for us all to work together to build programmes that support current care workers financially and emotionally, that make it easier to innovate and that encourage young people to consider care as a career. This has already begun on a small scale with approaches like “Your Life, Your Way” in Doncaster; but given the problems the industry is facing, we need to innovate across the board. It’s a branding, financial, strategic and psychological revolution that needs every city, every community and every individual to say “it’s time to change”.