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We were delighted to write a joint message with Deborah Sturdy in the CNO Bulletin for December 2021

Partnership working between social care and NHS services is vital
A message from Deborah Sturdy Chief Nurse Adult Social Care and Zoe Fry Director Outstanding Society During the pandemic, maintaining services and support to residents on their return to care home settings, after the amazing care they receive from NHS colleagues, has been so important. Registered managers (RMs) play an essential role in making this happen. Mutual working and integrated care planning across social care and clinical services was – and continues to be – so important to the health and wellbeing of those we serve. Allied to this, we need to make sure the relationships built during this time continue to grow and flourish in the best interests of those who stand to benefit. As we begin to emerge from the worst public health crisis in generations, the introduction of vaccines as a condition of deployment in care homes (expanding to other health and care settings by April 2022) sets out clear expectations of how the health and care system must protect those at greatest risk in our communities. The social care workforce has risen to the challenges of the last two years with dignity, bravery and the very highest standards of care. The vast majority of colleagues have been willing and able to take the COVID-19 vaccine, for which they deserve our thanks and respect. This gratitude extends, of course, to NHS colleagues, especially those who enter care settings on a frequent or regular basis, as they too have been vaccinated as part of their duty of care. The roles and responsibilities of registered managers are uniquely personal. These jobs are complex and include care management, clinical and team leadership, and multi-agency coordination. Often working in isolation (many care homes do not have the infrastructure and support of HR or senior management cover), RMs have sole responsibility for their service. It is their accountability which is interrogated when homes are deemed not compliant with legislative requirements and standard expectations. It is why working in a positive way with NHS colleagues is so important and why, when care staff ask for verification (including an individual’s vaccination status), they do so not to be obstructive, but to execute their legal duty. We cannot work in the best interests of those we serve without positive and collegiate relationships, and a mutual understanding of each other’s worlds, pressures and responsibilities. COVID-19, as disruptive and destructive as it has been, has also brought us together in many ways, cementing working relationships and building respect for the roles we all play. We must build on that and make it count.

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