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An open letter to our supermarkets

17 April 2020
Sue Evans, our Chief Executive

To all decision makers in our supermarkets

A request to help us support our amazing social care workers

You will probably have seen the many reports in the media this week about the enormous impact COVID-19 is having on the social care sector, particularly in our care homes.

While the effects of the pandemic on the NHS have been widely publicised, the critical role of the care sector has been less so.

Our social care workforce is essential to supporting adults and children in every community in Wales, including some of our most vulnerable people, and its work is crucial in helping ease pressure on the NHS.

There are more than 90,000 people working in social care in Wales, and it is estimated that adult social care alone indirectly contributes up to £2.4 billion to the Welsh economy.

Social care workers are making similar sacrifices to those working in hospitals. They are caring for our most vulnerable people, including those with Covid-19, in care homes and in their own homes, and are working long hours and shifts, leaving them little time do their shopping for essential food and provisions.

Yet we have heard reports from social care workers on the frontline who say it can be difficult to prove they are key workers and they have told us they cannot always easily buy food for the individuals they care for, or for themselves or their families.

On Tuesday, Vaughan Gething, the Minister for Health and Social Services in Wales, announced that we would be distributing a card to every social care worker in Wales to help them identify as a key worker during the COVID-19 pandemic.

A digital version of the card was sent to all social care workers on Wednesday, 15 April and this will be followed by a hard copy.

Twelve thousand digital cards have already been downloaded, which shows just how much it is valued by those working in social care in Wales.

Social care workers are often shopping for several vulnerable individuals or for a whole care service, and giving them the same preferential access as NHS staff would help make it easier for them to shop during the current crisis.

We have previously been in touch with you all about recognising this card, and we believe some supermarkets are already including social care staff in their priority opening hours.

But we are keen to make sure that every social care worker in every part of Wales can access the same priority benefits as NHS workers in every supermarket.

To make this happen, we need your help. So…

Will you formally commit to recognising the social care worker card and giving social care workers in Wales who show this card in your supermarkets the same benefits you offer to NHS staff?

If you are happy to formally recognise this card, we will acknowledge your support and share it with the social care workforce in Wales.

We count on social care workers to care for and support the most vulnerable members of our society. Can we count on you to help us support our incredible social care workforce?

I look forward to hearing from you.

Best wishes and stay safe,

Sue Evans

Chief Executive, Social Care Wales