Health and Wellbeing

Lawyer, tailor, soldier, hairdresser – over 1,300 answer the call to help vulnerable

older lady with hands on her kneePhoto by Cristian Newman on Unsplash

Posted on: 17 April 2020

Thirteen hundred people including vets, plumbers, soldiers, hairdressers, builders, students, artists and estate agents have answered the call to help care for the county’s most vulnerable residents.

It follows an urgent countywide appeal to recruit Healthcare Assistants – a vital new role supporting social care providers and the NHS during the coronavirus pandemic.

The registrations have come from people aged 16 to 65, some former health care professionals,  others with little or no experience at all in health or care.
But despite their varying backgrounds they all want to do their bit to help people and the NHS.

One construction worker from Torbay said in his application that he had not considered working in health care – but the current crises made him realise what was important.

A chef from Exmouth said: “This is a tough time for everyone. I’m lucky that I’m fit and healthy. I’m ready to step up and help those who need it most.”

Even if you have no experience in health and care, everyone has something to offer or skills that could be put to good use.

A young mum from Tiverton, eager to re-enter the workplace after bringing up her children said: “I am a mother of two and I am ready and willing to learn new skills to help our NHS in this time of national crisis.”

Some applicants admitted that they had long harboured a desire to enter the health sector, and coronavirus had prompted them to act.

“I just want to help at this crazy time”, said a beautician from Exeter. “I always wanted to work for the NHS but never had enough courage to start and do something about it until now.”

Some applicants have jobs to go back to, and one teacher said ‘it didn’t feel right’ sitting at home and she ‘wanted to do her bit’, while an estate agent wanted to ‘ease the stress’ of care and health workers.

One young man from Plymouth said: “I don’t want to sit around waiting for this virus to just disappear. It won’t happen if people like me choose to sit at home. So, I’d like to join the fight.”

Another applicant is an asylum seeker who said they are ‘willing to work, volunteer or whatever is needed’ because of what the country had done to safeguard his family.

Many applicants aren’t working – some have lost their jobs and not entitled to government support or are on zero-hours contracts.

They have applied because they see the new role as a chance not only to help the country but to start on a new career path.

“I have a family to support,” said a self-employed dryliner. “I want a chance to do something worthwhile that will benefit everyone.”

Then there are the second-year student nurses, a retired nurse, and a retired care home manager offering her experience and expertise.

Each successful recruit will receive three-day fast-track training before being deployed to a variety of settings. These include people’s homes, hospitals and care homes, where they will be supporting people with their personal care needs including eating, drinking and washing. This will reduce the pressure on existing health and care staff.

Councillor Andrew Leadbetter Devon County Councils Cabinet Member for Adult Social Care and Health Services said: “At a time of national crises and with services under huge strain, I am proud to say that hundreds of people have stood up and said that they want to help.
“Thank you to everyone who has signed up. Healthcare Assistants will play a vital role in our care homes, hospitals and in our communities over the coming weeks and months, and I’m in no doubt that they will help save lives.”

Philippa Slinger, lead chief executive for Together for Devon, the county’s Sustainability and Transformation Partnership, said:

“The amazing scenes we saw during the recent ‘clap for carers’ show how highly people value our inspirational health and care workers.

“Joining the health and social care team in Devon gives people the chance to make a real difference to the lives of people who need help, especially at this time.

“We know people in Devon want to do whatever they can to support the current challenges and by getting a job in health and care, people can play a vital role.

“As well as frontline jobs like healthcare assistants, there are so many other roles that help social care and the NHS to function – without these dedicated non-clinical workers, our amazing teams would not be able to achieve what they do for patients, carers and families every day.”

We still need people to sign up. If you want to make a difference and have a chance to help others please register your details on the Proud to Care website.

Posted in: Health and Wellbeing