Coronavirus and Dignity in Care Awards

The theme this week, in the Covid outbreak, is one of rising infection levels across the country; Staffordshire is not immune in this respect.  Stoke has moved into High Alert or Tier 2 on Friday.  In Staffordshire, infection levels are mostly lower, but nonetheless rising, and on the current trajectory it will be a question of when, rather than if, the county moves into High Alert too.  My aim, along with the whole of the county council, is to manage this transition in a planned manner, firstly through our ongoing discussions with government but more importantly by working with residents and partner organisations across the public and private sectors, to ensure that we strike the balance between control measures and keeping Staffordshire businesses and schools operating as well as is possible. 

Local test and trace arrangements are working well, which is the result of a great deal of detailed work by county council and NHS colleagues, but, we must remind ourselves that any test and trace effort contains the spread after infection has happened; as infection levels rise, the focus moves onto personal behaviours of hygiene, space and face coverings, which will have the greatest preventative effect on the spread of the virus.  Having made a great effort in the first wave to treat Staffordshire residents with respect and trust in their common sense, the fastest route out of Tier 2, if and when it happens, is for these efforts to be redoubled.

Adult Social Care providers bore the brunt of the first outbreak, and it was good this week to have an opportunity to speak to the care providers at one of their regular meetings with Health and Care colleagues.  My main messages were to says thanks, well done, and we will be with you in exactly the same way in the winter ahead.  We had some pretty dire predictions of infection levels and staff illness and absence in March and early April, which did not come to pass, principally because they and our colleagues put in some very targeted and effective measures which kept the show on the road; we are doing the same again to ensure that the winter passes safely. The virtual event worked well, with well over 150 attendees, which gives an indication of the size and complexity of the effort. 

I’m also delighted that we are continuing with the Dignity in Care Awards this year, also in a virtual format.  This is an excellent opportunity to recognise the efforts of carers across Staffordshire.  It is, I think, a unique enterprise, in that it gives equal attention to professional and voluntary carers, which, in my opinion is very important.  As we recover from the Covid pandemic, there is an opportunity to build upon the raised profile that care has as a profession and activity; events such as the Dignity in Care Awards offer a real platform to achieve that.    

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