Talking with care leaders in Ireland since our launch in March it is already clear that, as with the sector in the UK, there is a clear need for urgent reform.

Steps have been made to address the reform agenda with the Department of Health in Northern Ireland, for example, having put forward social care reform proposals, although these have so far fallen short of expectations.

Additionally, In Ireland, the government has promised a Commission of Care to learn from the experience of COVID-19 which is still to appear.

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In both regions, a bold vision for radical reform remains sadly lacking.

Radical reforms are needed that encompass a fairer funding model, a long-term strategic framework for workforce development and  the delivery of joined up care through the integration of health and care services.

Major investment and impetus is also required to encourage the adoption and integration of digital systems so that the sector is fit for purpose in the 21st century.

A long-term vision and plan is urgently needed to layout the foundations of a system that is both resilient and flexible enough to meet the requirements of a rapidly ageing population, with the population of over 65s in Ireland expected to be in the region of 1.6 million by the middle of this century and the number of over 80s rising to 549,000.

With so much at stake, nothing less than radical change will do.

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