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Health and Social Care Workers

Volume 677: debated on Tuesday 23 June 2020

What steps his Department is taking to support the health and social care workforce during the covid-19 outbreak. (903691)

Our health and social care workforce are at the frontline in fighting this cruel disease. I would particularly like to talk about social care workers, who in the past have not had the same recognition as NHS workers. Let this pandemic be the moment when that changed and when we, as a society, recognised the skills, compassion and commitment of our entire care workforce. We have sought to put in place the same support for social care workers as there is for NHS workers and funding to local authorities to pass on to care providers, so that they can pay social care staff full wages for isolating because of covid-19.

I wish the Minister a happy birthday. The coronavirus pandemic has highlighted how vital social care workers are to our nation, and we as a House should thank them for the job that they do. Unpaid carers in particular have borne a huge weight throughout this pandemic, so will my hon. Friend tell the House what steps she has taken to support unpaid carers during this period?

Unpaid carers are vital in our society. Being an unpaid carer is hard at the best of times, but even harder during this pandemic, and my hon. Friend is right to draw attention to that. During the pandemic, we have published guidance specifically for carers. We provided funding to extend the Carers UK helpline, we made unpaid carers a priority group for testing, and we are working with local government to support the reopening of day care services as soon as it is safe to do so.