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Coronavirus (COVID-19) thank you message to Northern Ireland social care workers

9 April 2020

Message from Sean Holland, Chief Social Work Officer

The Chief Social Worker Sean Holland has written to all social care workers in Northern Ireland to express his gratitude for their contribution in this time of unprecedented challenge and crisis. The letter, acknowledges the commitment, bravery and compassion of the social care workforce during the COVID-19 emergency.

Dear colleagues,

I am writing to put on record my deep gratitude for the extremely valuable and caring work you are doing during this difficult time. I want you to know that your commitment, bravery and compassion will be remembered long after this pandemic has passed. Alongside all frontline workers, you are making a lasting impact on the people you care for, their families and indeed across our communities – thank you.

Coronavirus poses probably the biggest threat any of us have ever seen in our lifetime. The word crisis barely seems enough to describe what is happening. There is immense pressure to act, to give assurance and answers when much remains unknown and uncertain. And the reality is no-one has all the answers. However, what is certain is that together we can make a difference.

I am impressed and so grateful, but not at all surprised, at how you as social care workers have responded. Your values, drive you to care and go the extra mile. Your skills equip you to be flexible and to adapt to new pressures about how to care for, support and protect people needing your care. The nature of social care means there are times when it is impossible to keep a safe physical distance from individuals who need help but who are infected or showing symptoms. Guidance for the use of PPE in social care has been issued and will be kept under review, HSC Trusts are working closely with your employers to ensure that the appropriate PPE is made available to you. Your need for protection arises from the work you do and not who you work for and that is why HSC Trusts have been instructed to include all care providers in their allocation of PPE on the basis of need.

We know from history that what is remembered and talked about long after the crisis is over are the people behind the stories. Their selflessness, generosity of spirit, acts of kindness, quiet heroism. And you will be one of those people that history remembers. But I don’t want to wait until it’s over to thank you. I want to thank you now for your care and compassion.

Together we will get through this. Together we will make a difference. Please look after yourself, your families and each other.

Yours sincerely

Sean Holland
Chief Social Work Officer/Deputy Secretary