“It goes without saying that every person working within the private sector must be recognised and awarded for carrying out a job which most of us would find impossibly challenging and emotionally taxing.”

Julian Evans, FRICS Head of Healthcare, Knight Frank

The private social care sector has historically been the ‘Cinderella’ of healthcare. In this exceptional year that has stretched the public and private healthcare sector in unprecedented ways, it is important to recognise the frontline social care workforce – above and beyond the weekly ‘clap for our carers’ initiative back in the spring. Our heroes have been challenged by the very much ongoing and Herculean task of caring for and protecting our most vulnerable.

Now, perhaps more than ever, we’re relying on those working within the private care sector to provide the very best care for our loved ones – our elderly parents and grandparents and those with compromised health who are unable to have visitors.

Risking their own lives, forfeiting PPE in the line of duty, working double shifts, not seeing their families for weeks on end and going beyond their pay cheque; these are all the news worthy stories and very real sacrifices that the extraordinary individuals working within the social care and senior living sectors make on a daily basis in order to save the lives of those nearest to us.

Ironically, it can be said that 2020 is the year that has thrown social care into sharp relief. Compounded by some of the negative and hurtful headlines published in tabloid newspapers it saddens me to say that before the pandemic broke in the early part of the year, the British government was largely ignorant of the challenges of social care work.

Outside of Covid-19, operators, nurses and on-the-ground staff have worked tirelessly to prevent or manage seasonal infections ranging from Norovirus to Influenza year in, year out, providing vital end of life care with dignity, humanity and compassion.

When we first had the idea for the Healthcare Heroes initiative, the messaging was clear from each and every care home operator senior executive that I spoke with prior to the nominations.

As individuals and a collective, they were blown away by the relentless tenacity and dedication of those working within their facilities. Of course, it was nigh on impossible for many of them to put forward a condensed list of nominees that had gone above the call of duty in an eight-month period.

One Chief Executive, quite understandably, felt obliged to nominate every care home under ownership and every member of staff. Every employee, he felt, made an extraordinary contribution in protecting those under their care, in the face of adversity and when the very foundations of their professional calling were being tested.

It goes without saying that every person working within the private sector must be recognised and awarded for carrying out a job which most of us would find impossibly challenging and emotionally taxing.

The list of nominees is incredibly diverse and spans a wide range of specialisms across asset classes – from chefs to nurses, managers and support staff to marketing and janitorial staff. It paints a rich tapestry of the ‘human faces’ behind care home work and vividly brings to life stories from the frontline, which I’m incredibly proud of.

We must thank each and every one of our Healthcare Heroes for going ‘above and beyond the call of duty’ in a tremendously difficult environment.

I n the shadow of Covid-19 and an ageing population, if there’s one thing that those working in the care home and senior living sectors can hope for, is that our everyday Healthcare Heroes are treated with the respect and recognition they deserve beyond the headlines.