Derek Breingan, the Head of Health and Social Care Sector at Virgin Money shares with us exactly what he wished people knew about social care. A huge thank you to the whole Virgin Money team for sponsoring Care Home Open Week this year!
As we approach Care Home Open Week I was reflecting on the people and the places that I have encountered in my life that have connections with social care. It is a lot!. I then thought ‘I wonder what things would be like if we did not have social care?’. That evoked a great deal of thinking and reflecting.
Looking firstly at our elderly in the community and the support and care that many rely on daily. This can be in a care home or more often in the form of domiciliary care where social care comes to them at home. Without this these valued members in our streets, towns, cities would be left to fend for themselves or rely on family and friends for what can be quite complex mobility and health issues. Many would end up in hospital, in long term beds within the NHS, which can barely cope as things stand today and hardly the future we aspire to.. I look at my own street, in a small village, where out of 17 houses there are 3 households that rely on social care daily and there are 4 houses where one of the residents works in social care.
Young people and adults with mental health challenges and physical impairments are also important to our society and again many receive support, education, employment and accommodation from social care. I particularly enjoy spending time with these people and seeing how they flourish with the care that they get and the relationships with those dedicated to helping them living their life. What would we do as individuals to step in if social care did not exist? I suggest we would struggle without the skillset and knowledge of the specialism.
Then there are the children who are the lifeblood of our future and need the best start in life possible. Sadly for too many that is not the outcome or outlook. Again social care provides the pathway to hopefully a better future, a more normal development and opportunities.
With over 1 million people dedicated and employed to provide care in the UK in social care then the impact on our local areas without them would be very dramatic. Not only would the people who need them be left to alternatives (or not) but the economic impact of the lack of revenue would impact local businesses and organisations. Wider than this is the supply chain that relies on the sector for its survival. Businesses that are focussed on supporting social care would have no markets needed to provide income and no staff.
So I thought about all of this and concluded that we really do not appreciate the huge impact that social care has on our country, our people, our society, our wealth, our wellbeing, our life, our hopes and our security. What I wish people knew about social care is exactly that and why Care Home Open Week is such an important initiative for us all.