Is this the hardest stage of the pandemic? How we are supporting ARC members in 2021

Clive Parry, ARC England Director
For many of ARC’s members, 2020 was the toughest year in living memory and whilst the vaccine does seem to represent some light at the end of the tunnel, for many, the next six to eight weeks may well be the hardest stage of the pandemic.

Although some make concerning reading, the news pieces in the latest edition of Real People do seem to reflect a noticeable shift in terms of the awareness of policy and decision makers of the pressures in some parts of the Adult Social Care sector.

ARC is working hard to make sure that we make the most of this opportunity and to ensure that concerns that our members raise with us are heard by policy and decision makers and that services for people with a learning disability are better understood.

Included in this are issues such as the JCVI prioritisation criteria which don’t take sufficient account of the additional risks and higher mortality rates faced by people with a learning disability and the impracticality of twice-weekly LFD testing in some care settings. (NB – we expecting that the MHRA will soon authorise the use of lateral flow tests in their homes by social care staff which will be welcomed by all social care providers).

We are also feeding back to the DHSC that the burden in terms of quality assurance, reporting and data collection, especially where this duplicates effort or replicates work being done by different bodies such as Local Authorities, CCGs and the CQC is taking much needed resources away from the front line where they are needed most.

Providers are telling us that the challenges and pressures they are experiencing in relation to Day Services are not well understood and that these vital services do not feature in key pieces of work such as staff testing and the vaccination programme so we are working with colleagues in the Department to ensure the voices of those members are heard.

We have a number of courses and qualifications on offer as we start the New Year as well as opportunities to become a WDF partner and to benefit from financial support for qualification certification but as always, if there is something missing that we could add to this list, please let us know.

Happy New Year to all our members.

Clive Parry, ARC England Director