to try and work something up that will look at what I think the rescue plan needs to be, what the recovery plan needs to look like, and what we need to do to create resilience in our sector. We need it because we have an ageing population.

TCHE: Are you worried about people not wanting to go into care homes? Ahmed: Yes, we have a huge job to do. All of a sudden we are trying to rebuild the reputation of the sector to safeguard hundreds of thousands of people year- on-year, 420,000 people in care setting 560,000 people in home care. We have done that and we are doing

that despite the funding and now we’ve got to do it all over again to build that confidence back up.

TCHE:Do you forsee any changes to the way care homes operate in the medium and long term? Ahmed: In the medium term I suspect the zoning that has happened in care homes will continue for some considerable time, where infections will have to be managed and controlled. In the longer term, we are going to

have to think that through what the environment within a care service looks like. We have tried to replicate multiple living settings, with people together, people sharing lounges etc. Are we now saying that environment

needs to be thought through? And does that create some challenges for loneliness? Does it mean that people would be living in a care setting but not actually mixing or socialising? That could be the kind of thing that could have to be looked at. When you look at it, we have an open-

door policy. We have been encouraged to have an open-door policy. People can

visit at any time their loved ones and that’s what we have built our ethos on. I think that will also have to be

changed and checked through. There will be implications for training of staff, possibly being much more clinical. There are also implications in the long-

term about the PPE stocks we carry because we would not even have thought of masks in the past. Is that going to be part of the new normal, with more resilience built in?

TCHE:What does the National Care Association want to see in terms of social care government policy as a result of Covid-19? Ahmed:We’ve got to be clear about the type of people that come into social care. We are looking at end-of-life care. Is social care the right term? We’ve got to then be clear about how

we are funding them, and what that funding looks like and which bits the state is responsible for, and what we expect to be funded through the private purse. And then we need to be clear about

sustainability and robustness of the service in case of something like Covid- 19, which could be a way of life. This is a national care service now, a service that is looking after people, we’ve

If we are ignored now and forgotten once again, I think that would be an indictment on the society we live in

June 2020 •

got to be really clear about that and who is coming into our services.

TCHE: Would you like to see the government introduce a ‘National Care Service’? Ahmed: I don’t like the term ‘National Care Service’. This is a service that is of national importance but I would be concerned about indications that the only way is to nationalise the service, and that’s why I wouldn’t choose it in that context. I think it’s about a national recognition

that this is a care service fundamental to the fabric of health and social care. I would call for a secretary of state for

care. I don’t think it works that we have a Secretary of State for health and social care because I think the current one often forgets there is a care service that he is responsible for. When you look at 1m people who are

looked after through a bit of the sector, the 1.6m people employed, which is more than the NHS, surely we deserve a standing that is equivalent to that of those representing the NHS?

TCHE: Should care be funded out of National Insurance? Ahmed:Yes. It should be funded on the same footing as the NHS for the same service. We don’t do operations but we are looking after people at end-of-life and we are looking after people with complex healthcare needs, and we are looking after people with medical needs. This has been politically difficult and

that’s why the can has been kicked down the road for so long. So, somebody has to be brave enough to do this. The government needs to listen to the sector. If we are ignored now and forgotten

once again, I think that would be an indictment on the society we live in. TCHE


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