By Lyn Romeo and Fran Leddra, chief social workers for adult social care, DHSC
With our long careers in social work, we’ve seen first-hand how every corner of the sector is filled with an incredibly talented and hardworking workforce, who have worked brilliantly in extremely difficult and unique circumstances during the last year to make a difference to the lives of those that need their care and support.
It is important that the heath and care system protects and supports those working as part of it, and this year we have launched a call for evidence to shape the Women’s Health Strategy, which will help reduce health inequalities, improve wellbeing and make sure health services meet the needs of women. With over 80% of the adult social workforce being women we have a brilliant opportunity to make a real difference.
The consultation, which ends on 13 June, encourages all social workers, whether you are a woman or work with women, to make their voice heard and help make sure the health system works for everyone. We need the widest possible range of voices to help us shape the best possible, and a highly informed, strategy.
We know from experience that social work is a difficult, but hugely rewarding job, which provides a range of unique challenges for those of us in the profession.
Maintaining good mental health, as well as coping with the physical demands of the job, particularly as we get older, are important things to consider and the voice of social workers will be invaluable in making sure the strategy improves outcomes for us all.
As well as working with people, their families and communities to support them to live the best possible lives, with fair and equal access to the right care and support, social workers also juggle meeting the needs of their own families, often caring for children, older parents and relatives, as well as trying to look after their own health needs.
Having just returned to work (Lyn) after caring for my elderly mother and supporting her through end of life care, alongside supporting my autistic brother, who has lived with her all his life, I know how essential the support I received from my GP, community nurses, social worker and mental health services was in helping me maintain my physical health and mental wellbeing.
So that’s why the government wants you to share your thoughts and experiences of both working in and using the health and care system. It wants a Women’s Health Strategy that is based on the views and experiences of real women from across the whole spectrum of society, and it’s vital that social workers have their say too.
You can share your views and experiences and contribute to the call to evidence here.