SOCIAL CARE LEADERS in England are pleading with the public to do all they can to limit the spread of the Omicron variant of Covid-19, in the absence of further Government restrictions.

In a statement released on 22 December, The Association of Directors of Adult Social Services (ADASS) said: “Despite phenomenal increases in the amount of care delivered in recent months, more is needed than there are care givers to deliver it. This means that excruciatingly painful choices are being made about who gets support and how much. It means deciding between helping someone to get out of bed and ensuring they are able to eat and drink during the day.

“This situation is getting worse by the hour as more and more staff go off sick or isolate because of the Omicron variant of Covid-19.  Given that the [UK] Government has not announced any further restrictions over recent days, we are appealing to people to do the right thing.”

Reflecting on the profound challenges posed by Omicron, Stephen Chandler, ADASS president, said: Even before Covid-19 and Omicron, adult social care was struggling with severe funding and workforce challenges. Staff absences due to the rapid spread of Omicron and the need to self-isolate now mean that there are not enough pairs of hands to provide care for everyone who needs it.

“Every day we are rationing care in ways that we never have before. We are making incredibly difficult decisions about who gets care, how much care they get and who misses out – with obvious concerns that this will lead to people becoming isolated and, ultimately, to the loss of lives.

“This is now a national emergency for social care and we need your help to limit the spread of Omicron and to make lives bearable for people over the coming weeks. You can do this by taking a number of small, but important steps.

“Please stay at home as much as you can, unless you are providing care and support. If you are able, please provide care and support for family members who need it. Take time to check on neighbours and offer any support you can. Volunteer with your local council and charities to assist support efforts. Keep social activities and social contacts to a minimum.  And please take up the offer of vaccine and booster jabs as soon as possible.

“Please play your part in keeping yourselves, your families and your communities safe.”

* Source: Association of Directors of Adult Social Services