(19 May 2022) EPSU has published new research that examines how COVID-19 impacted the long-term care sector in a number of countries – and how trade unions reacted.
In October 2021, EPSU published a report on the Resilience of the Long-term Care Sector: Early Key Lessons from the COVID-19 Pandemic. It highlighted a number of pre-existing deficiencies in care systems which made the sector so vulnerable to the pandemic, as well as failures in the way the crisis was managed.
It also showed that, while failures were widespread, not all care systems experienced the pandemic in the same way. Certain countries – such as the Nordic countries where care services are more integrated into the public health systems - were much better equipped to respond.
This follow-up report looks in more depth at the situation in specific countries – Austria, Belgium, Croatia, France, Italy, Turkey and Ukraine. It also highlights the important role of trade unions in protecting the rights and well-being of care workers, in what has undoubtedly been the most arduous period for the sector in the last decade.
Whilst it seems the worst of the pandemic is thankfully over, the sector remains under acute pressure due to the ageing population and chronic staff shortages. These country specific case studies provide a wealth of information on the weaknesses in various care systems, and some useful examples of how unions can ensure the protection of workers.
It must be noted that the data on Ukraine was gathered before the Russian invasion. Our thoughts and solidarity are with the Ukrainian people.