The majority of carers are not motivated by money; they choose this vocation, and accompanying low pay, out of compassion and a heartfelt desire to look after the wellbeing of others.
And the botched handling of this announcement, Ministers appearing to announce their intentions via briefings to favoured friends rather than Parliament, will be viewed by some as a cynical attempt by the Government to take social care seriously in the wake of its serial neglect of this sector – even the ‘leaks’ fail to clarify the status of carers visiting clients in their own homes.
After all, it is the Government’s failure to throw its promised ‘protective ring’ around care homes at the outset of the pandemic that has led to so many unnecessary deaths.
A tragic state of affairs exacerbated by the crippling staff shortage that many homes were facing long before the emergence of Covid, the new approach favoured by Ministers risks alienating workers still further.
Rather than a debate about compulsion, and all the legal ramifications, Ministers need to be engaging with those carers who are sceptical about vaccines to better understand their concerns and how best to persuade them to change their minds.
This approach is likely to be far more productive in the long-term rather than a potential confrontation with a sector that has been devalued by successive governments at a time when it needs to be valued, and cared for, more than ever.
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