Insights

Ben Shelley: 4 minute read

Winter is coming

Much like the beloved, Game of Thrones franchise, the season of snow and cold is on its way. The season that brings with it colds and flu is this year bringing a new virus along for the ride. COVID-19 is here, has been classed as a global pandemic and is responsible for not only claiming people before their time but for also fundamentally changing how we live.

Restricted living

COVID-19 has cancelled flights, weddings, reduced funerals, required us to spend more time at home than we ever imagined and seen us lose contact with loved ones. It has affected all of us, sparing no-one, and it has taken its toll. For months now we have lived under restricted conditions, which have meant that some families have been unable to see each other. It is something made all the more complicated by the distance created through living in separate countries.

Restricted living has been necessary to protect the elderly and the vulnerable. This does not mean that it has been easy. It is never easy to ask people to deliberately cut out those that they care about from their lives. From the Grandparents unable to meet their new Grandchildren to those suffering through longer forms of the virus, it has been a challenge.

With winter around the corner, the government has announced new restrictions that place us perilously close to where we saw ourselves in March and April. We have not yet seen a full countrywide lockdown and we hope that it does not come to that. The economy would not deal well with a second lockdown.

The economic fallout

  • Interest rates were reduced by the Bank of England to their lowest rates in more than 300 years
  • Government borrowing has outstripped the available income of the country
  • Borrowing has already doubled that which took place after the 2008 financial crisis
  • The fallout is continuing to affect lower-income families and will continue to do so for months to come.

The economy reports do not at this time make for easy reading. We are heading into one of the worst recessions in history and will be doing so hand in hand without the European Union. It is a worrying time but one that sees additional concerns to those who are working in the sector, as health does trump all.

The care sector

The care sector employs thousands every year yet is always left with thousands of vacancies. The COVID-19 outbreak has brought this situation back to the surface as care providers struggle through financial and staffing concerns. With some homes run on a threadbare budget, it is not uncommon for one home to be staffed by a handful of staff. This naturally reduces the amount of care that can be provided.

These issues have been bubbling beneath the surface for years. All of them are not new concerns, they are existing problems that have burst to the forefront as homes struggle with staff illness and vulnerable staff being unable to work. It is a systemic problem that has been forced wide open with the global pandemic and Brexit.

The sector cares for thousands each year. Many of whom have been forced to operate with even fewer staff members than before. It is a real concern as we head into the winter months. It is something that will be keeping families up at night as they are unable to see their loved ones as they wish to over the festive period.

How will we cope?

By working together. There is not a problem in the world that cannot be solved by working alongside like-minded individuals.

Those who work with the care sector have a desire to give back. They want to help those in their care but they need help. The government needs to consider all angles and not leave those who are caring for those outside of the NHS out in the cold.

Through prioritising those who are vulnerable, regardless of where they are, we can ensure that help is directed where it is needed. As a species, we will be able to cope only if we care for those less fortunate and vulnerable. Money from the government is needed to sure up certain sectors, including the care sector but what we need is a comprehensive plan, to enable joined-up working.

During this entire crisis what has been made clear is that people do care. People want to help where they can but it is placing them where they need to be which is important. This is where technology has helped.

The importance of tech

Technology is every bit as important as food delivery today. Without technology, families would have been unable to connect to disparate members and ensure that they are okay. Without technology, the search for a cure could not continue 24/7 and be shared across the world once available. Without technology, we would have been lost.

Technology has been the glue that has held society together. It has opened up the doors for working at home. It has given millions of people hope when that is in short supply. It can connect those who are vulnerable to help quicker and whilst we have just begun to scratch the surface of what is possible, the future is bright.

To conclude

Winter is coming. It will be tough as the struggles with track and trace, alongside the search for a vaccine continues. It will be tough for families who are unable to see each other and it will be a struggle for those who are vulnerable. What we need to do as a species is to see the light and get those who are surrounded by darkness to the support they need. Technology is the essential glue within this process.

We believe in technology as an organisation and we hope that everyone reading this does also. We have seen it take disparate processes and connect the dots, saving thousands. We have seen it grow from being stationary to being everywhere.

Technology is here to help connect those that are vulnerable to those who need help quickly. We wholeheartedly believe this and always will.