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‘Carers must share pandemic experience with UK Covid Inquiry to drive change’

Carers and those who experienced the social care system in the pandemic are being encouraged to share their experiences with the inquiry (UK Covid Inquiry/PA)
Carers and those who experienced the social care system in the pandemic are being encouraged to share their experiences with the inquiry (UK Covid Inquiry/PA)

Carers have been urged to share their pandemic experiences with the UK Covid Inquiry to ensure lessons can be learned for the future.

Experiences of those who worked in challenging conditions amid the outbreak and rapid spread of Covid-19 must be put “on the record” and used to “help drive change”, those within the sector said.

Carers and those who had experience of adult social care in that period are said to have a “unique opportunity to contribute to the inquiry’s investigations” through its Every Story Matters project which allows people to anonymously share what they went through.

The call comes during Carers Week and is a year out from the inquiry’s public hearings for their investigation into the care sector, which is due to begin in summer 2025.

Inquiry secretary Ben Connah said: “Carers were unsung heroes during the pandemic, facing extraordinary challenges with unwavering dedication.

“Their stories are essential to understanding the full impact of Covid-19 and to helping make sure lessons are learned for the future. I urge all carers to share their experiences with Every Story Matters. Your voices are a vital part of our Inquiry.”

Ramzi Suleiman, policy and public affairs manager for the Carers Trust’s, said: “We can’t influence change unless we are part of the story.

“To put the experiences of unpaid carers on the record, this Carers Week we are urging those aged 18 and over to submit their stories to Every Story Matters to shape the UK Covid-19 Inquiry’s investigation into the care sector and help us learn lessons for the future.”

Melanie Weatherley, co-chairwoman of the Care Association Alliance, said sharing experiences “will highlight the strength, compassion, and dedication of care workers, provide insight into the challenges faced by those who we supported, and shape the inquiry”.

She added: “By sharing our stories, we can help drive change.”

A preliminary hearing for the care sector module, held in March, heard that restrictions on families visiting their loved ones in care homes during the pandemic had felt cruel and punitive, and more than 50,000 deaths related to the virus in care homes had occurred across the UK.

Some sector organisations have appealed to inquiry chair Baroness Heather Hallett to extend the scope of module six “beyond residential care homes and a limited view of home care”, saying social care encompasses more, including community-based services, supported housing, and assisted living.

The chair has previously said she will issue her determination on the module’s scope once she has considered both the oral and written submissions from core participant groups.