It always seems strange that we should have a day marking the achievements of NHS and other front-line care workers. The appreciation we have for them should be constant. But maybe it gives us the chance to reflect on just how physically and emotionally tough their role is.
Some of these issues are always there, but the Covid crisis highlights them particularly.
How hard to tell visitors they cannot come. How hard to tell the person being visited that they cannot see their relative or friend. How hard to be the go-between, holding the phone or device to enable a frail or dying person to speak with their loved-one. How hard to see those you care for gradually deteriorate and finally slip away. How hard to leave your family to go to the hospital or care home where you work – or, maybe worse, to go to a number of different people’s homes on your own, one after the other – wanting to protect both your family and the resident from infection and illness.
I find the efforts of those who care to be inspirational. At Essex County Council we aspire to heighten the respect accorded to social care workers who can, too often, appear to be in the shadow of the NHS.
Over the coming years we will be determined to see what we can do to make things better for them, but on this special day, and every day, I invite readers to join me in giving them our thanks.