Insights

Adam Ratliff: 4 minute read

Share your love for all those working within health and social care this Valentine's Day

Valentine’s Day is this Sunday and whilst it will not be the one that most of us have dreamed of it will be a day to show our love for everyone working within health and social care.

Throughout the last 365 days, we have been working together in order to battle the global pandemic known as COVID-19. The news has shown us the best and worst of our species but when it comes to health and social care, we know the truth. They have been overworked and stretched to their limits, with little to no respite available. The government has stepped up with funding, but that is not enough when you consider the future and what is needed.

This year, as we have done every year, we want to show our appreciation for those that have given so much. We want to say thank you, offering our never-ending praise for the work that they do.

Worrying trends

The old statement that no news is good news is never more applicable than it is today. A good experiment to conduct is to Google your subject, in this instance, health or social care to see how many positive stories you can count. My bet is that you won’t find too many, with the majority of the stories revolving around the negative rather than the positive.

At the time of writing this article, a quick Google of the search terms, health and social work, came up with the following top stories:

Health

  1. Covid: The devastating toll of the pandemic on children
  2. Forgotten island: Barra’s hidden health crisis
  3. Covid: The 225 frontline health and care workers who've died with virus during pandemic

Social Work

  1. 36 social workers of working age died from Covid-19 in 2020, official figures show
  2. Covid lockdown end will bring surge in children in care, social workers fear
  3. Covid: Social workers 'braced for tsunami of needs' after lockdown.

Rather than look for the positive, we seem to have a rather ingrained desire to find the negative. This is not something that is new. With statements such as controversy creates cash and get me a murder a day being circulated throughout the media, we can accept that good news does not generate clicks.

From this, we could argue that because the majority of us are settled in our lives, and are happy, we do not want to read about what we already have. We want to read about the problems of the world in order to consider what we can do to help.

Outpouring of love

During the outbreak of the pandemic, the NHS was overwhelmed.

It received more than a million requests to become an NHS volunteer, after only asking for a quarter of that number. It was an unprecedented point in time, which reversed the trends seen within the news and suggested that there was a caring spirit under the surface of this nation.

‘In the space of a few weeks of coronavirus lockdown, England has acquired a million-strong network of social volunteers – surpassing demand and prompting speculation: is this a new sign of social solidarity, and can the newly acquired community spirit survive?’
A million volunteer to help NHS and others during Covid-19 outbreak, The Guardian, April 2020

This was against the trend of doom scrolling.

‘Doomscrolling and doomsurfing are new terms referring to the tendency to continue to surf or scroll through bad news, even though that news is saddening, disheartening, or depressing. Many people are finding themselves reading continuously bad news about COVID-19 without the ability to stop or step back.'
On ‘Doomsurfing’ and ‘Doomscrolling’, Merriam Webster

Doom scrolling has become something which is synonymous with the last year. The desire to seek out news on the situation, whilst understanding that very little will change. The inability to stop the flow of information by turning your phone off or changing tactic and looking for the positive.

Captain Tom Moore was a ray of sunshine that caught our attention this year. He walked 10 lengths of his garden, sparking off a movement which has subsequently raised nearly £40 million in aid of the NHS. He drew our attention away from the doom and helped us see the light.

Let’s not forget social care

Social care usually ends up as the unloved sibling of the NHS, when this should not be the case, they are both sectors which give back and yearn for a government to see them as one. The historic problems associated with delayed transfers of care prove as much, regardless of the funding provided to get the individual out of the hospital, if there is nowhere for them to go, then they must remain where they are.

The pandemic pushed the government to cut back on the red tape. Discharges occurred at a rapid pace to ensure that hospital space was available at the height of the outbreak. This is something that we need to continue forward with to ensure that people are able to be where they need to be as quickly as possible.

Social care has been seen for the first time in what feels like years through the current crisis, with the Prime Minister recently acknowledging the difficulties faced by the sector and the need for reform urgent.

‘Appearing before the House of Commons Liaison Committee on 13 January, Boris Johnson said: “The pandemic has highlighted the difficulties that the social care sector is in - it clearly needs reform and it needs improvement.

'We will be bringing forward plans later this year'“
Boris Johnson promises social care reform this year as care homes call for action, carehome.co.uk

Do we believe the Prime Minister? Plans were announced by the Secretary of State for Health, Matt Hancock, yesterday. The timing of which has been criticised, yet what we can agree on is that it is a step in the right direction and we only hope that the plans will be followed up and actioned appropriately. 

A final thought

Valentine’s Day is a time to say I love you to those you care about most in the world.

Whilst we appreciate the sentiment, we would ask, why this thought is not prevalent throughout the year? We love health and social care, with everyone working within these sectors being worthy of applause and promotion.

When the current crisis falls back and we find ourselves on a more even footing, we will remember who the real stars of the time were. Health practitioners, social workers and teachers were who we needed and not the latest football star to grace the cover of Manchester United. 

How we treat those who are vulnerable says a lot about who we are as a society. In light of Brexit and the global pandemic, we can only rebuild by sticking together, working as one and showing love, care and attention for those who are in need.

As an organisation who has spent nearly 30 years creating sources of software for health and social care to work as efficiently as possible, we say thank you today and every day. We love all of those who think of others first and this Valentine’s Day applaud their efforts, as we do so all year round.