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By Debbie le Quesne

New Year, new challenges, but please keep going

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I have been told that I ought to do a New Year message – a kind of general’s speech to rally the troops for the challenges ahead.

I recall having to read Shakespeare’s Henry V and the famous St Crispen’s Day Speech . . . the call to arms and war by King Henry against seemingly impossible odds. It didn’t seem to make much sense all those years ago, but now I find it incredibly fitting.

It was a king’s call to an embattled army, wearied with war and sickness and depleted in numbers. The French were “fresh” and eager to fight and the looming “fearsome” encounter (see

/www.youtube.com/watch?v=A-yZNMWFqvM )

Not one to over-dramatise, I do see similarities today between all care streams of our industry and whoever we deem the ‘enemy’ to be. For most of us it will be the austerity measures which have affected countless businesses as care fees paid by local authorities have lagged far behind spiralling costs,

It’s a sign of the times we are all in I’m sure when food banks and baby banks have sprung up seemingly everywhere. Doctors declared during last year that food poverty was a “public health emergency” . . . I find it all so peculiar, distant, and yet I know it’s true and daily impacts on the work I do.

The effects of the cuts for many of us have become sanitised but still remain unpalatable.

The industry faces many challenges and not least the Care Act revisions, cuts in public spending continue to bite and impact adversely across a range of council services, themselves victims of fiscal pruning.

I know businesses are suffering and for many they are in survival mode. I take heart that the need for them will not dissipate, but I worry that those who need them will be denied access.

Our government keeps insisting things are getting better and I really do hope that is true. Increased economic growth will help us continue to deliver the kind of care excellence we all wish to see,

My message for New Year is a simple one: Keep going . . . please, Our care providers and their staff do an invaluable job and the quality of their caring never ceases to amaze me, despite the unspeakable odds. You are amazing and I honour you for your unyielding professionalism.

As so many have reinvented themselves to help balance books, I believe we must do it over and over again but never lose the vision of why we do this work. Caring and the way we deliver it is indeed the barometer of any civilized society. I hope amidst the unpopular decisions of the future the reading on this hugely significant barometer will at least be ‘fair’.

May I wish all of my members and their care staff a very happy New Year.

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