Care in a time of crisis

Join our new project

The Bureau Local’s health inequality reporting project launched in November 2020 — six months into the global Covid-19 pandemic arriving on UK shores.

The fallout from the virus has been brutal, with more than 125,000 people having died here. What’s more, the pandemic exposed and exacerbated long-standing health inequalities, and introduced new ones as our way of life changed. Nobody has been unaffected; it has been impossible to ignore Covid-19 and its effects. So we asked ourselves: where was the impact both severe and underreported? 

This led us to adult social care, particularly care received inside the home; the place we’ve become all too familiar with in the past year and that tens of thousands of people have been unable to leave, or get respite from. 

Statistics released by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) last summer showed there had been a remarkable increase in the number of deaths of people in receipt of domiciliary care — even when deaths attributed to Covid-19 were taken out. However, these figures covered just a two-month period in mid-2020. There was a small wave of media attention given to the release, but since then, no further national data has been published on these deaths in the community, or on the challenges faced by various groups of people who require personal assistance.

Last month, the Supreme Court also ruled that care workers who stay overnight in the homes of people they care for are not entitled to the minimum wage while they are sleeping. We are interested in both how this affects care workers themselves, and the care received by those they support.

We are keen to dig further into these issues with your support. We’ll be working alongside Channel 4 News, the Disability News Service, and The Independent to try to tell these stories.

How can I get involved?

  • Join our ‘Care in a Time of Crisis’ Open Newsroom this Thursday at 1pm. Together with our guests, we’ll explore how inequality manifests in adult social care and the lack of data available to assess it; changes to domiciliary care during the pandemic; and the mounting pressure on care workers. The event will be hosted by Channel 4 News’ Victoria Macdonald with speakers Dr Zubaida Haque, of Independent SAGE; author and activist, Ellen Clifford, of Disabled People Against Cuts (DPAC); and Lancashire-based care worker Carol Thompson. From 2pm, interactive theatre-makers Coney HQ will lead an intimate Story Circle, to give anyone affected by the topics discussed a chance to debrief and chat informally. A separate Zoom link will be shared during the event for anyone who would like to take part. Register for Care in a Time of Crisis here
  • Contact us here if you or a relative receives care at home; if you knew somebody receiving personal assistance but who has sadly died since March 2020; or if you are a home care worker yourself.
  • Share the call-out below far and wide to help us reach more individuals, support groups and organisations across the UK: 
While care at home is the first focus for our health inequality team, we’re continuing to explore other topics in need of investigation. 

When we asked at the end of last year what you thought we should investigate, there were plenty of great ideas fed back back to us. Some of the biggest recurring themes that came through, and which we will be bearing in mind, are:
  • Marginalised groups’ access to primary healthcare and treatment, including ethnic minorities such as travellers, asylum seekers and refugees, transgender patients, and pregnant people.
  • Climate and environment: the impact of climate change and air quality on health, as well as the link between health and place.
  • Structural issues, such as the marketisation of health and social care, measurement indicators that disadvantage certain areas, integration of services, and the impact of financial insecurity on access to healthcare.
To take some of that work forward, we plan to launch our Health Inequality Lab very soon. Some of you have already expressed an interest in this, so thank you for your patience! 

After some discussion, an open, public forum seemed the most democratic and productive option. The plan is to set up regular sessions that are open to everyone and provide a space to flag up matters to be aware of, problem solve, and even create or suggest solutions to tackle localised health inequality where we can. 

In the spirit of fostering connections, we aim to invite a few special guests each month to share news about the work they’re doing in this field. We hope this can be an inspiring, shared space and are keen to make this work for as many people as possible, so do let us know in what way you would be most likely to participate by simply replying to this email with your preference (some suggestions below).

A) A Zoom video meeting where everyone can participate in one large group 
B) A Crowdcast video session where we can facilitate different hosts and participants are offscreen unless asking a question/ contributing
C) Something wholly text-based like our Bureau Local Story Clinics on Slack

Do you prefer lunchtime, afternoon or evening events? What online platform works best for you? Please also feel free to recommend speakers, and definitely let us know if you have any accessibility needs. 

Latest from us

Get in touch

Know about something we should dig into? Get in touch!

PGP: Public key here
Twitter: @bureaulocal 
Slack: #newsroom 

The Bureau Local team
CharlesGareth, EmilianoMeganRachelShirish and Vicky

About us

The Bureau Local has been set up by the Bureau of Investigative Journalism and is a people-powered network setting the news agenda and sparking change, from the ground up. 

We're made up of reporters, data experts, community activists, open data champions and more, who are passionate about local journalism and the role it should play in holding power to account.

This newsletter gets sent out periodically. For day-to-day communication with the network, make sure you are on Slack - our network platform.
Did someone forward you this email?
You can sign up to the Bureau Local network here.
Our mailing address is:

Want to change how you receive these emails?
You can update your preferences or unsubscribe from this list

This email was sent to <<Email address:>>
why did I get this?    unsubscribe from this list    update subscription preferences
The Bureau of Investigative Journalism · Acorn House, 314-320 Gray's Inn Road · London, London WC1X 8DP · United Kingdom