MPs warn of pressures on social care, amid criticisms of handling of pandemic
A recent report by MPs on the House of Commons Health and Social Care and Science and Technology Committees on 'Coronavirus - Lessons learned to date' has heavily criticised the government's early handling of the pandemic.
The Homecare Association (as UKHCA) gave evidence to the MPs' inquiry on the experiences of the homecare sector and its workers, and the significant challenge posed by COVID-19.
On social care, MPs concluded the pandemic had put massive strain on a social care sector in England already under huge pressure, with social care having a less prominent voice during early stages of the pandemic than the NHS.
Discharges from hospital without testing, staff shortages and lack of testing, and difficulties in obtaining PPE all hampered the ability to keep COVID-19 at bay. Social care staff in both care homes and providing domiciliary care worked under strenuous conditions, at risk to themselves, to provide care to people.
MPs said many of these pressures on the social care sector, such as funding and workforce, are longstanding and must be resolved urgently. Workforce pressures on the social care workforce are likely to be compounded when vaccination becomes a condition of deployment in residential care homes (a policy that could be extended to the homecare sector, which would face similar issues).
The report commended the vaccine programme as one of the most effective initiatives in UK history, but concluded in other areas the government made mistakes in its handling of the pandemic.