Continued Care shares the realities of social care on BBC News
Continued Care director Samantha Harrison was surprised to be contacted by someone from BBC News in late January.
were preparing a report on the state of social care and its relation to
hospital discharge, and would be filming in North Yorkshire at the end
of the month. Would they be able to come to Continued Care and find out
about our experiences? Not used to be in the spotlight, Samantha took her time to consider the idea before responding.
not something that comes up very often and it doesn't feel very natural
to me," she said. "But I really wanted to show the reality of social
care – the challenges we face, and the way our brilliant carers keep
smiling despite the pressures of the system that we're all constantly
Two sides to the story
The team of three arrived from the BBC arrived
with us in Harrogate on a Wednesday afternoon, having just spent the
morning filming at Harrogate District Hospital. Their aim was to show
the two sides of the situation: a patient who needed to be discharged
from hospital into social care, and how social care organisations like
Continued Care are adapting to the changing demands of the system.
A patients viewpoint
of our long-standing clients, Jenny, had offered to take part in the
filming and give her views. Jenny has four visits from our carers every
day and has had spells in hospital and in a care home in the past. She's
an incredible advocate for home care, having experienced the difference
it makes to her life.
She told the BBC team that being at home
enables her to retain a sense of control over her life. She is in her
own surroundings and can have her own possessions around her. She has a
regular schedule of care and can invite friends to visit in between
times, as well as spending time with her family, including two lovely
A care system under pressure
Jenny also spoke powerfully about the pressures on
the care system. She sees her carers every day and, although they are
always upbeat and wear a smile, she knows the demands we are facing to
do more work in less time.
The BBC team also spoke to Sue
McGowan, one of our experienced carers, who reflected on the way the
role has changed in her ten years with us.
Finally, we came to
the Continued Care office, where they filmed our team looking at new
cases arriving with us from North Yorkshire County Council, and
interviewed Samantha about her experiences.
"I wanted to get
across the fact that we have to value social care, and treat it with as
much respect as medical care, if we are going to solve the problems
facing the industry," said Samantha.
The realities of working as a carer
"It's not just about the
money – people who are motivated purely by money aren't always the ones
who are best suited to working in care. Instead, it's about the respect
we give to care as a career.
"In Harrogate, we have a particular
problem with jobs. We find ourselves competing with supermarkets and
with the growing number of restaurants and hotels here. Why would
someone choose to work in care when they can earn a similar
amount in one of those industries, and it seems to be much more
respected by society and in the media?
"At Continued Care, we
offer our carers opportunities to gain qualifications, to achieve things
they may not have thought possible, and to progress into areas that
might not have been available to them in the past. If someone tells us
they want to move into care coordination, administration or business
management, we do all we can to enable them to achieve that."
A change in perception is needed
for other people is one of the most rewarding and valuable things you
can do with your life. I'm absolutely determined that the public
perception of care work should change and we should value it in the same
way we do nursing or medical care.
"Only when we view social
care in the same way we view health care, and fund it in the same way we
fund the NHS, will we start to see the system working as well as it
The story about social care in North Yorkshire,
featuring Jenny, Sue and Samantha, is due to be broadcast on Wednesday
8th February on BBC News at 6pm and 10pm.