Clapping for Carers in the Covid-19 crisis: Carers’ reflections in a UK survey

Jill Manthorpe, Steve Iliffe, Patricia Gillen, John Moriarty, John Mallett, Heike Schroder, Denise Currie, Jermaine Ravalier, Paula Mc Fadden

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19 Citations (Scopus)
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This paper reports and discusses the weekly Clapping for Carers – described as ‘front-line heroes’ that took place across the United Kingdom during the first national lockdown of the coronavirus pandemic. Data are drawn from a UK-wide online survey of health and social care workers, completed in May to July 2020. The survey received 3,425 responses of which 2,541 were analysed; free-text comments were categorised. One question asked specifically: ‘Do you think the “Clap for Carers” was a helpful response from the public?’, and 815 comments were provided. Responses were extracted from these 815 free-text comments and categorised as follows: unequivocally Yes, predominantly Yes, mixed feelings, predominantly No and unequivocally No. Most comments revealed mixed feelings about the helpfulness of Clapping with only a minority being entirely supportive. The free-text comments offer some explanations for these views with many feeling that Clapping distracted from the severity of the pandemic and the inadequate resources. The free-text comments reveal workforce concerns that the support demonstrated for the frontline workforce in Clapping might be transitory and that it may not translate into workforce improvements and political commitment to further funding of health and social care. Some saw the value of Clapping as illustrative of community cohesion. There was little mention of Clapping for heroes, and where it was the notion of heroism was rejected. The demonstration of public support in Clapping for Carers may have directly benefitted the public, but only indirectly the workforce. Future recruitment data may help discern if public support has translated into a desire to join the workforce.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1442-1449
Number of pages8
JournalHealth and Social Care in the Community
Issue number4
Early online date14 Jun 2021
Publication statusPublished (in print/issue) - 1 Jul 2022

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This study was funded by the Northern Ireland Social Care Council, Southern Health and Social Care Trust in Northern Ireland and the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Policy Research Programme (Policy Research Unit in Health and Social Care Workforce: Ref. PR‐PRU‐1217‐21002).

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 The Authors. Health and Social Care in the Community published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd.


  • carers
  • clapping
  • coronavirus
  • Covid-19
  • survey
  • workforce
  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Health Policy


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