Livy Mayne examines the importance of treating care workers with dignity, through her personal experience of the government’s attitude towards the care sector.
Growing up in, what some would deem, unique living circumstances helped me understand that equality is a fundamental principle that must be passionately adhered to at every given opportunity in life. Living in a nursing home environment, where my mum nurses two ladies with both physical and mental complex needs in my family home, has had a great impact on my social conscience. To my frustration, I began to notice some of the daily prejudices faced not only by people with disabilities but by my Asian mum who nurses them.
Having observed the discrimination experienced by members of my household while growing up, I never envisaged that it could get any worse. But it became abundantly clear to me that there has been a total lack of empathy and compassion shown by this government during the most difficult times of the pandemic.
This was highlighted in the UK Covid report, ‘Between 16 March 2020 and 30 April 2021, 41,675 care home residents died of Covid-19,’ during which a lack of personal protective equipment was provided and social care workers like my mum were left to fend for themselves.
It is hard to put into words the stress that is involved when protecting/shielding clinically vulnerable adults on a daily basis, month after month, with no respite. According to Citizens UK, 87% of carers report that they worry so much about money that it affects their everyday life. On some occasions, the pressure seemed relentless and never-ending for my mum, but her fellow care workers inspired and supported her throughout the tough times.
However, I do feel that I have been privileged to witness the dedication and devotion of somebody who deeply cares for those that are most vulnerable in our society. I was in awe of the sacrifices that have been made by the selfless devotion of care workers during the pandemic.
After my personal experience over these last couple of years and witnessing the disappointing lack of human decency regarding this Conservative government’s efforts to support care workers, it has hardened my resolve to make sure that I am a member of a party that places dignity at the top of the agenda of any manifesto for care workers in the future.
Livy Mayne is a 17-year-old Labour activist from the Wirral and Vice-Chair of the North West Young Fabians. She tweets at @OliviaVM97.