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Backlash against key workers...and what if there’s a second wave

(26 Posts)
Flipflopflapflip Fri 05-Jun-20 22:11:44

I’m an nhs keyworker and have worked throughout the crisis, putting my young child in daycare for long (very expensive!) hours but proud to do my bit.

Over the past few days I’ve noticed a very subtle shift in attitude and support towards key workers eg nursery keyworker holiday provision being massively reduced in favour of other working parents who had complained, the clap for carers ending (pleased about that one) schools saying they aren’t going to open in the summer for keyworkers (dont blame them - teachers need a break too but looking like no alternative childcare being available for keyworkers).

I don’t know, it just feels like when the threat seemed huge, people were falling over themselves to clap, provide support etc but now it’s perceived to be less of a threat we just need to get in with it. Doctors in Italy have reported similar.

The difficulty is though, that I don’t think the threat has reduced that much and if there is a second wave, will keyworkers be flavour of the month again? Will we want to put our lives on the line or will it be our turn to stay home/stay safe? I think I would step up again but a bit more jaded, tired and sad. What do other keyworkers think?

OP’s posts: |
StealthPolarBear Fri 05-Jun-20 22:23:24

I'm not a keyworker but I agree, the mood has shifted. I honestly don't know what would happen if there was a second wave.
Everyone seems to have got to the end of their tether, and the gush of public support has stopped. I'd like to think there are still plenty of people who are grateful and quietly supportive

AIMD Fri 05-Jun-20 22:50:24

Ah it’s just like the Be Kind thing, people jump on the band wagon while it’s popular!

I prefer to judge people by what support they give all round rather than when it’s popular.

Slothsarecreepy Mon 08-Jun-20 15:47:46

The clapping and all the other overreactions (the first week of the clap would have been enough and meant something that day) were just that, and never going to last. I'm an NHS keyworker and hated much of it, especially as I knew people would get bored of it.

UntamedShrew Mon 08-Jun-20 16:05:24

I’m more grateful than ever. I read a thread on here about how knackered you all are and it brought me to tears. I don’t know how you keep going, I really don’t - but I thank every one of you.

I would volunteer to have keyworker children in my home over the holidays with my own DC and am sure others would too if they could allow this.

PS we still clap on our street and regularly circulate petitions for pay rises, for PPE in care homes etc as it felt hollow on its own.

Thank you again.

Bol87 Mon 08-Jun-20 16:10:44

I’m not sure there’s a backlash.. maybe I surround myself with nice people but we all remain extremely grateful to the NHS & all keyworkers!

I think there has been an understandable shift that life needs to start moving towards normality. The NHS hasn’t been overwhelmed & now has good capacity should local or indeed a national flare up happen. And that’s what lockdown was for.

But rest assured most normal, kind people have always been very grateful to the NHS & will continue to be so!

pfrench Mon 08-Jun-20 17:07:15

The NHS hasn’t been overwhelmed & now has good capacity

Read the Key Worker Support thread - the NHS is overwhelmed, just not in a big warehouse style hospital with a politician standing outside. The NHS was shut down, that's why it 'coped'. It now has to catch up all that was missed, and staff are on their knees. They can't cope with another wave of anything on top of what they've got to catch up on.

Schools shouldn't be open in the holidays. If they are safe for teachers and other school staff, then they are safe for every other holiday club and even lots of grandparents.

Slothsarecreepy Mon 08-Jun-20 17:19:08

@pfrench But as you said, the NHS is not a single entity. I'm an NHS keyworker, never been close to being overwhelmed and neither have any of my colleagues across 4 NHS trusts. No-one is on their knees or exhausted and most of us have been working at low capacity for weeks and weeks. Plus hundreds of bank staff being thrown into financial difficulty as there is no work for them currently.

MissDollyMix Mon 08-Jun-20 17:26:34

I'm eternally grateful to all the keyworkers out there, however I did feel a bit galled this afternoon when I went past our local primary school (closed to all but 'key worker children') at 3pm and saw the parents leaving. We live in a small-ish village. I know all of those parents. About 20% have parents who are working in the frontline, the vast majority were children who have 1 key worker parent and 1 stay at home parent. Meanwhile there are single parent families who need to work to survive or families where both parents are desperately working from home in order to save their jobs who aren't entitled to a school place. I get it though. It's not the keyworkers fault. I would jump at a school place if we were offered it. It's ridiculous government policy to blame.

Rowgtfc72 Mon 08-Jun-20 17:36:58

Food factory worker. We were mildly amused to get our keyworkers letters at first but trust me we bloody earnt them!
We will just go back to being minimum pay factory fodder. People will soon forget the early starts we willingly did, the lack of ppe for the first few weeks. All to put food on the supermarket shelves.

Chocolategirl19791 Mon 08-Jun-20 17:37:49

It's not that people don't appreciate what key workers have done but for the non key worker parents who are really struggling it does start seeming unfair.

Key workers here full time childcare currently, free holiday care when the rest of us have nothing and when we go back to school full time school. We are trying to wfh with kids and it's hell. They would love to go to school whether work or childcare for someone to focus on them instead of endless screen time. When we see key worker kids in school when one or both are home, going shopping, etc it really starts grating when we're working all hours to be a parent, teacher and employer. This is only get worse as more things open up and furlough ends.

SunbathingDragon Mon 08-Jun-20 17:39:51

I don’t think it’s a backlash (fellow keyworker here). It felt like people stepped up to help out but now they feel things are returning to normal so their offers of help are reducing, even though they shouldn’t feel like that because I think we will have a second wave.

SecretSpAD Mon 08-Jun-20 17:43:51

Unfortunately when people are put so high onto a pedestal they are always going to be knocked off.

gypsywater Mon 08-Jun-20 17:44:20

I work for the NHS and have always seen it as just a matter of time before the usual denigration of the NHS started hmm

gypsywater Mon 08-Jun-20 17:45:58

@SecretSpAD well said

heatherro Mon 08-Jun-20 18:05:47

I've noticed a slight backlash when speaking with friends tbh. Their reasons are varied:
One is supermarket staff and feels resentful that while the public are clapping for NHS workers she has been treated like shit by many members of the public.
One family member has several friends in NHS who have been twiddling their thumbs on full pay while she's doing the additional work of furloughed colleagues.
One friend has a family member (NHS) shielding at home on full pay and feels resentful because they are self employed and have lost a years work.
In one instance a friend (struggling essential business owner) was asked recently by a customer 'do I get NHS discount'. Felt like a smack in the face considering his business is on the verge of collapse.
I've no doubt all are grateful to those exhausted and working on the frontline, but as a previous poster stated - NHS is not a single entity and they are comparing those individuals who look to have it relatively easy atm in relation to their own predicaments. It may be worth mentioning I live in an area much less affected by Covid than many so its compounded by the feeling that things haven't been as bad as initially expected.

pfrench Mon 08-Jun-20 18:16:07

No-one is on their knees or exhausted and most of us have been working at low capacity for weeks and weeks.

The thread about Key Worker Support suggests lots of people are finding it otherwise. I know two anaesthetists in the south west, and they agree with you - it just wasn't as bad as they expected. GPs around here have been loving being able to do so much by phone. Hopefully they'll carry on with that, as it's loads easier.

Low capacity is about things being shut down or avoided by the public right? Surely if you're on catchup and there is also another wave of COVID stuff like this last one, you'll be doubly busy? Or not?

pfrench Mon 08-Jun-20 18:19:55

On the backlash front, I expected the furloughed to get it first before the NHS.

Obviously teachers are getting it now, but that's just normal. All us public sector employees have been doing eff all other than sunbathing. Apart from 'frontline' nurses.

nobbymcphailisverypale Mon 08-Jun-20 18:27:46

@heatherro I'm NHS and my shielding colleagues are working their contracted hours but from home.

gypsywater Mon 08-Jun-20 18:31:24

@pfrench grin

flumposie Mon 08-Jun-20 18:35:16

Agree that holiday clubs need to be open in the summer for everyone now. If schools are opening for more pupils then holiday clubs should be able to. Shouldn't be expected that schools open over summer instead.

pennylane83 Mon 08-Jun-20 19:00:52

Its not that people are ungrateful, everyone contines to be thankful to the keyworkers however, a lot of people have been out of work for months now and the time has come for them to start returning so as to keep their jobs and keep a roof over their heads. They are now in need of those nursery places just as much as keyworkers.

Nikki078 Tue 09-Jun-20 08:40:26

I am an NHS worker. On another note - I wondered how many people will leave the NHS post Covid - due to stress and burnout - the rates were higher prior to the pandemic already, since March there's been a pressure to keep going or, for people who recently left - to go back, but this cannot last. I too continued. Absence rates are low just now but I expect will pick up after the immediate crisis is over and we move into long-term plan of learning to live with the virus while waiting for a vaccine. By that time waiting lists will double due to the pile up of new referrals and reduced services as well as increasing number of people struggling with effects of lockdown- not the virus itself.Then the narrative will change again to 'what are you doing to deal with it' and the responsibility to deal with that crisis without support from higher up will fall on individual workers again.
I do feel doom and gloom just now but have little faith in politicians :/

Dragongirl10 Tue 09-Jun-20 08:54:36

FLIPFLOPFLAPFLIP...please please do not think that people have become less grateful or appreciative, l have never clapped (l live rurally so no point as no one would hear)
Don't have much social media presence so no gushing comments and have never drawn rainbows etc.....
But have been thinking about best way to effectively lobby for MH and Trauma help for healthcare workers, also to start petition for better benefits once this lessens.

Some are loud and show support verbally, and on SM and that is good to boost those after a horrible day on the front line....others, many, many others, have a quieter way of showing our undimmed appreciation, the person who quietly pays for someones food shop, lets an exhausted Healthcare worker go to the front of the queue.

We will never forget the sacrifice, bravery and unselfishness, and everyone l know feels no help should be withdrawn. In fact much more needs to be done.

I hope that now our kids can look up to healthcare workers instead of footballers and reality TV stars, wouldn't that be an improvement in our world!

majesticallyawkward Tue 09-Jun-20 09:14:35

It's not ungratefulness, perhaps the endless 'I'm a keyworker' type attitudes have worn a little thin as it's been used as a sort of get out of jail free card by some.

Now the country is opening up again people who have been furloughed now also need provisions such as childcare, at least unspecified fortunate enough to still have a job and being told its only for key workers mean that other industries like retail or hospitality now have workers facing job loss because they don't have any childcare. And these are the types of job that are typically lower paid and will take much longer to recover.

The shift towards getting lives back, regardless of how you perceive the risk of CV, has happened and we need to collectively deal with it now. It doesnt mean doctors, nurses, essential workers are being pushed out or forgotten but it does mean the rest of the workforce is now being remembered.

Personally I will be pleased to see the back of the cult like workship of NHS/keyworkers.

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