A new column from social care advocate, Mark Topps
We are excited to announce a new monthly column written by social care campaigner and former Care Manager, Mark Topps.
We have been following Mark’s campaigns to improve the industry and public perception of Carers for the last few months. His understanding of care and passion to improve the sector makes him the perfect person to deliver commentary on the current state of care and different issues within the industry.
Without further ado, please meet Mark Topps!
Mark Topps’ Social Care Column
Hi everyone, I’m Mark Topps. I started working in social care when I was 17 years old and I fell in love with the role. Shortly afterwards, I decided to pursue a career working in social care. I was determined to lead and upskill a workforce that was dedicated to delivering excellent quality care that was person-centred and truly met the needs of the individuals supported.
Nowadays, I enjoy raising awareness for both people using care services and those working within them. Over the last couple of years, I have led numerous campaigns and petitions with a combined signature list of 2.8 million. My most recent campaign called on the government to see and treat care workers as skilled professionals. I also campaign for the government to treat people living with a learning disability to have the same rights as those without.
I currently work as a Regional Support Manager. Outside of social care, I enjoy spending time with my three young children and wife.
Reforming Social Care
I am delighted to have been asked by Log My Care to write a monthly column on all things social care and welcome any questions you may have about the sector or wish for me to write about. One conversation that keeps popping up is about the government reforming social care.
The government recently published a white paper on the Department of Health and Social Care inquiry into how health and social care services are delivered and it has me worried that we are in danger of only reforming healthcare. I worry that the government expects social care to become medicalised and fit into a health mould that just won’t work. I do believe on paper the two together could lead to a streamlined service to meet the needs of the people accessing them. However, in reality, it brings two sectors that operate very different systems.
These sectors are often un-cooperative. Both face extreme financial and recruitment pressures. The big question is, will there be enough resource and funding to make the vision a reality?
One important factor which has been highlighted throughout the COVID-19 pandemic is that social care is so much more than supporting elderly people. It is important for the government to remember that care comes in many forms and it is not just people living within a care home that requires support. There are thousands of people living with long term health conditions, learning disabilities and mental health needs that also require support. It is important that government remember this when they reform the sector as they were the forgotten ones initially during the pandemic.
Whilst we social care folk can get frustrated about the delays, it has been great to see many groups formed including people and organisations working collaboratively to address the issues we currently face and establishing exciting ways to overcome these.
Boris Johnson said reforming social care was one of his priorities. However, with an ageing population and people living longer the time is running out on how much longer a sector on its knees can hold out and wait for the government to invest in society and its people. I have hope that I and the rest of the advocates for the sector can work together with the government to find a solution that is beneficial for all those in Care and delivering it.