Engage: UK needs to realise the NHS would ‘fall over’ if it was not for social care sector – Jeremy Richardson

Social care is an “afterthought” for the Government and public, one care homes boss has said.

Jeremy Richardson (pictured), chief executive of Four Seasons care homes, said the NHS would “fall over” without the social care sector, but attention was focused on the health service at the start of the coronavirus pandemic.

He told the PA news agency: “If you remember in the very early parts of this crisis we had clap for the NHS on a Thursday, it was only three or four weeks in that we started talking about clapping for carers.

“There is no doubt in my mind that the health system is split into two parts: there’s the NHS and that is revered quite rightly because it does a fabulous job, and social care is a bit of an afterthought.

“I think that is symptomatic of how the country views social care, not just this Government.”

He added: “If you took the social care system away, the NHS would fall over.

“In fact, a lot of the reason the NHS is able to do the great work it does is because it is supported by the social care system.”

However, Mr Richardson hopes Covid-19 will have reversed this perception and given people a greater appreciation for those who work in the care sector.

He said: “If anything good comes from this crisis, it could be that the spotlight is shone on social care and it’s seen for what it is, which is a really important part contributing to UK society.

“My hope would be that this isn’t just a moment in time, that we don’t get through this pandemic and forget about the contributions these people are making.”

So far, there have been 240 Covid-19-related deaths in the 187 care homes Mr Richardson looks after, and 11% of staff are off due to self-isolation, he said.

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