I’d like to take the opportunity to introduce myself to new and future members of the Greater Manchester Independent Care Sector Network, encourage others to get involved and re-connect with existing and lapsed members. Before I do that however I’d just like to recognise the work of our previous Chair, Mark Cunningham, who was a fantastic Chair of the network and remains a brilliant advocate for our sector. Marks’ analysis of the challenges and opportunities in the sector and his good humour and kindness make him an incredibly hard act to follow.
Clearly, we are in the midst of an unprecedented challenge within the sector, one that none of us has any prior experience of managing and one that has put an incredible amount of pressure and responsibility on our carers, nurses, managers and others. While one positive by-product of this has led to a much better understanding of the vital role social care providers play in local health and care systems and community resilience as a whole (in terms of public perception and media interest), the cost in terms of the toll on our front line staff and the sustainability of our organisations and companies has been immense.
As we come through the initial peak of the emergency period and hopefully enter a new phase of containment and management of the virus backed up by quick, effective and consistent testing and tracing, we must stress upon all our partners that a new deal for social care is required more than ever. We need to build on the good will toward to sector and turn it into concrete action and improvements, both in the way we are seen and interact with public sector bodies, how we are funded and how our staff are recognised and rewarded. I genuinely believe that this ideal, for which we have been lobbying for years, is now within touching distance and I encourage providers large and small to get involved. This could be within your own local authority area or on a wider Greater Manchester basis and will help shape our interactions with our commissioning colleagues to ensure we build consistency, best practice and a strong partnership ethos across Greater Manchester.
I hope you’ll join us on this journey.
Jake Rollin, Chair