Brexit. Yes, we’ve all had far too much of our news and media filled with the word in the last couple of years. In short, it’s the UK leaving the EU. In long, it means so much more. Brexit has implications very personal to me; I was born in the UK but currently live in Dublin, Ireland. I am married to an Irish woman and have an Irish son. But I still hold my British citizenship and my British passport, despite living here for nearly 20 years, and I travel extremely often to the UK. A lot of people involved in the care industry may be in similar situations, living in the UK on an EU passport, or like myself, living in the EU with a British passport. Thankfully, it does seem like the home care industry should not be affected by Brexit as a whole, but there are still many implications to consider.
Northern IrelandThe most complex part of Brexit exists with the Northern Ireland border. Over the past 20 years, the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland have overcome tumultuous pasts to live and work together as one community. The possibility of a hard border presents a very unique aspect for home care; care companies that operate on both sides of the border, companies that send care workers across the border as part of their daily routine, and much more. At this stage, the question of the hard border is the big unknown; will they or won’t they put one in place. This also depends on the possibility of a ‘No Deal’ Brexit, which would basically force a border into place. Nobody on either island wants this, as it opposes years of working together. But then, is it right to put a border in the sea, or track it some other way? We have yet to find out. For care workers, it may mean crossing a border every day just to visit their clients. Care companies may phase out business on the other side of the border as well.
Medicine ShortagesThere is a possibility of medication becoming scarce due to extra regulations and procedures that will have to be put in place to deal with medication coming across from the EU to the UK. This should be well discussed with your clients in advance so they can deal with the issues that may arise. Give them peace of mind that things will be fine, that they just need to communicate closely with the doctor and pharmacy to ensure that everything runs smoothly. New prescriptions may be made and you will need to note this in your own way to monitor administration for your clients.
The No DealThe possibility of a No Deal Brexit is coming closer and ever looming. Any day now we may have a solution in place, but until then there is always the possibility of it not going according to plan. The prospect of a No Deal will definitely cause issues for care workers and for clients. Difficulty travelling abroad, work permits, and dozens of other possible implications. However, there have been assurances that even in the event of a No Deal Brexit, funding towards home care would still continue and the everyday life of a care worker or client should not change.
What to Do at the momentSpeak to your staff members, in fact now may be a good time to conduct feedback surveys amongst your clients and your care workers. Making sure that everyone is on the same page and understands the company’s message will ensure success throughout the Brexit process.
- Communicate with staff and make sure you understand that Brexit will not affect their duties. Feedback is key here.
- Ensure all staff details are up to date.
- Communicate with clients that their services will not change, but that there may be some other issues such as prescriptions in the future.
- Make sure you have everything well documented for your clients and care workers. Tracking the next few weeks and months in terms of your clients, services and standards will be crucial to success.
- Don’t alienate non-UK staff members, or avoid hiring non-UK carers. Caring for someone is one of the most important jobs in our society, and one that is underappreciated by the general public, until its needed. As members of the industry, we know that carers are the lifeblood of any care organisation.