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Will Covid-19 finally help us realise just how important key workers are?

1 April 2020

Local News

Written bySamuel Holmes

Will Covid-19 finally help us realise just how important key workers are?

One of the most striking images we’ve all seen in the past few weeks has been of a frail, elderly man surrounded by row upon row of empty supermarket shelves. It brought home, if nothing else, how much we depend on whole groups of workers we don’t often think about, such as the drivers who bring food to our stores and the supermarket staff who stack the shelves.

And it’s not just the drivers and the supermarket staff. We all know that doctors and nurses provide a vital function, but if you’d never before noticed the health care assistants, cleaners, secretaries, pharmacists and administrators who keep a hospital functioning, then the Covid-19 crisis has shown us just how essential those people are.

The government’s list of sectors employing key workers was eye-opening – healthcare and education, of course, but also food production, local government, transport, public safety, utilities, financial services and social care. The people who keep your water supply flowing, or make sure the phone network is working, or who empty the bins, are all performing a vital service. Not all these jobs are regarded as highly-skilled – and many certainly aren’t highly- paid – but we couldn’t manage without them. What would we do if the delivery drivers fell sick and couldn’t make it to the supermarket? Or the electricity network ceased to function? If it wasn’t for these workers keeping the wheels turning, then daily life would grind to a halt.

This population requires specialist care, sometimes round the clock. They are looked after by an army of 1.3m care workers, quietly performing a vital role. Without them, many older people would be unable to look after themselves, and would be reliant on adult children giving up their own work to care for them. It’s often seen as an unskilled job but not according to Amy Hilton, Registered Manager of Radfield Home Care.

Amy explains, “Our home care professionals and thousands like them across the UK are responsible for peoples’ lives, mobility, medication, and diet; we also manage catheters, stoma bags, and use a variety of other specialist mobility equipment including hoists. We also collaborate closely with a large number of other health and social care professionals on a daily basis to ensure people remain safe and well. Our jobs and responsibilities are complex and they require diligence, insight, and attention to detail.”


At the current time, when so many of us are confined to our homes and unable to visit our older relatives, the work of those in the care sector is more necessary than ever. If the COVID-19 crisis has taught us anything, it’s that everyone in society plays their part, often unacknowledged, often unthanked. If one good thing comes out of this, maybe it’s that we all finally recognise how much we all owe to the hard work, skill and kindness of others.


Samuel Holmes

Samuel Holmes

Director & Owner

A former social worker, Samuel has a passion for supporting people to lead fulfilling lives.

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