Health and Social Care Workers: Recognition and Reward

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 2:19 pm on 25th June 2020.

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Photo of Mark Fletcher Mark Fletcher Conservative, Bolsover 2:19 pm, 25th June 2020

It is always a pleasure to follow Jim Shannon. I am very grateful for the opportunity, on behalf of all the residents of Bolsover, to say thank you so much to all our care workers and all our NHS staff, who have done so much during these incredibly difficult months. We thank them unreservedly for everything they have done for our communities and our country.

A few weeks ago I suggested in oral questions that we should have a special honours list to recognise those who have done so much and sacrificed so much during this period. I say again to the Minister that I feel that is something we should pursue. I suspect that many, many people from Bolsover would be suggested for inclusion on such a list.

One of the most humbling and difficult things that I have done during this period has been to speak to every single one of the care home managers in my constituency. One in particular stands out. She said that this had been the most difficult period of her life. In tears, she said, “But I’m also incredibly proud of what we’ve done—of the leadership we’ve shown and how well my team have coped.” That just goes to demonstrate the amazing spirit that we have seen in this period. In my conversations with my local hospitals—the Chesterfield Royal, the King’s Mill Hospital and the hospital in Bassetlaw—I have heard only good things about the efforts that the staff have put in.

Our manifesto committed us to seeking a cross-party consensus on the future of social care. Now more than ever, we should continue to seek to do so. We can talk about pay and conditions—we can talk about all sorts of aspects of social care—but ultimately we need a vision for that sector that is sustainable and that is suitable for those who live long lives. I have a background in the care sector, and I know that there is so often a stigma attached to it. There is a fear of care homes and a fear of older age that should not be there. Based on the contributions today, I think there are many things on which we agree and many things that we should look to solve together.