By guest blogger JEF SMITH
A friend of mine diagnosed with cancer – now, happily, treated – was asked how he could possibly have missed the early warning signs. His response was that he had moved house the previous year and that dealing with that had taken up all of his mental energy. It is dangerous to make comparisons between individuals and larger social systems, but in this instance there are revealing parallels.
The Government has some big problems on its hands, but Brexit looms over everything else, absorbing the time of ministers and senior civil servants to such an extent that other important issues are simply not getting the attention they merit. Similarly, inside DHOASC, the Department of Health (Oh, and Social Care), the financial crisis of the NHS is clearly overshadowing care’s desperate funding problems.
Within the Brexit debate, various aspects of the changes which will occur jostle for attention, and again social care risks being marginalised. People in the know have been warning for some time about the way in which immigration restrictions could seriously damage the care workforce, a message underlined again this month by the publication of a report from the Institute for Public Policy Research. “The Charity Workforce in Post-Brexit Britain” makes important recommendations on immigration and skills policy, but does anyone in Westminster or Whitehall have the time or energy to listen?
It is said that personnel matters will be receiving more attention now that the Brexit negotiations are moving to consider the ending of free movement of labour, but there are already signs that it is the shortage of doctors and nurses which will make the headlines rather than the loss of front-line workers in residential homes and homecare agencies. Care’s cancerous growth develops unnoticed because supposedly more important health problems absorb all of the available attention.
- The CT Blog is written in a personal capacity – comments and opinions expressed are not necessarily endorsed or supported by Caring Times.