It’s that time of year, when Business Link Magazine invites the region’s business leaders to offer up their predictions for the year ahead.
It has become something of a tradition, given that we’ve been doing this now for over 30 years.
Here we speak to Konrad Czajka, Managing Director of Czajka Care Group.
Konrad said: “The question on everyone’s lips in the care sector is how will we get back on track and what have we learnt from the pandemic? The care market is at risk of collapse due to the lack of funding, lack of referrals and continuing lockdowns. In 2021, we hope to see our sector out of lockdown, and hopefully an effective vaccine being used. The Commissioners working in the Local Authorities and the Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCG’s) have hopefully realised that adult social care needs to be on par with the NHS. Social care must not be viewed as the ‘Cinderella service’ to the NHS.”
Konrad also hopes to see changes in the CQC’s policies. He added: “Our sector has been put under the spotlight, with much of what’s been revealed to people emerging in a positive light. If the CQC becomes more supporting of our endeavours, we must capitalise on this and secure long-term successes for our sector.
“We will of course face even more challenges due to Brexit. A report by the Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR) says almost 80% of EU social care workers would have been unable to migrate under the new immigration rules.
“Social care could face increasing skills shortages as a result of the coming changes. The Government will need to follow the Migration Advisory Committee’s advice to add new occupations, such as senior care workers, to the shortage occupation list to address existing skills shortages in sectors critical to the pandemic response.”
Konrad added: “We have found that technology can do much more to support an effective and high-quality service then ever imagined. The challenges presented by the virus have really accelerated the use of digital platforms and technology by both the workforce and people in care. It is good to hear that the 11,000 free iPads NHSX secured for care homes are being distributed. These devices will be used for everything from keeping residents in touch with loved ones through to staff support.
“Looking forward we must continue to look after the mental health and wellbeing of our staff even more. A phrase we will see emerging in 2021 is ‘mutual aid’ where there is a voluntary reciprocal exchange of resources and services for mutual benefit – this is particularly important when it comes to staffing. Hopefully, helping others and going forward in a spirit of collaboration will not just continue, but actively flourish. There will be some very challenging months ahead but I’m still feeling optimistic – my 37 years in this industry have taught me that optimism is an essential trait!”