Jeremy Hunt becomes secretary of state for health and social care

Minister to take responsibility for adult social care green paper alongside day-to-day care policy

Jeremy Hunt
Photo: Tolga Akmen/LNP/Rex Shuttershock

Health secretary Jeremy Hunt has been named as secretary of state for health and social care in today’s Cabinet reshuffle.

Speculation had been rife about a potential change in role for Hunt, with tips that he was to become the new business secretary, after what has been dubbed the worst winter crisis the NHS has seen in years.

But after more than an hour with prime minister Theresa May at No 10 Downing Street, he emerged with his extended job title and role.

Adult social care green paper

As previously, Hunt and his department – renamed the Department of Health and Social Care – will have responsibility for both health and adult social care policy. But the department confirmed that it will be given responsibility for the green paper on social care for older people, which had previously sat with the Cabinet Office.

A Department of Health and Social Care spokesperson said: “From today the Department will be renamed Department of Health and Social Care, taking on responsibility for the forthcoming social care green paper which will set out the Government’s proposals to improve care and support for older people and tackle the challenge of an ageing population.

“All costs associated with changing the Department’s name will be kept to a minimum.”

The green paper is designed to produce a long-term and sustainable solution for funding and providing social care to a fast-growing population of older people.

It is due to be published by the summer and will be subject to a full public consultation.

The change in Hunt and the department’s titles is also likely to reflect a desire to project a greater status for social care within government. This marks a change from Theresa May’s first reshuffle, in July 2016, in which she downgraded the post of care minister from minister of state level to the more junior parliamentary under-secretary of state.

‘Social care crucial in its own right’

The Association for the Directors of Adult Social Services (ADASS) said the reclassification of the Department of Health was a “welcome recognition of the importance of social care”.

Glen Garrod, ADASS vice president said: “ADASS has long called for a more coherent approach towards health and social care, and ensuring that the responsible Government department does this is an essential first step.

“We hope the Secretary of State will see social care as crucial in its own right, and not just viewed through the prism of what it can do for healthcare. Social care is responsible for over 1.4 million jobs, and supports over 1 million of our most vulnerable adults. With a funding gap of over £2 billion, this will be one of the most essential tasks for the new Department to get to grips with in making sure that a long-term, sustainable funding solution is provided to address this. The upcoming green paper on social care, which is expected in the summer, is an ideal opportunity to do so.”

Izzi Seccombe, chairman of the Local Government Association’s Community Wellbeing Board said: “It is vital that adult social care is placed on an equal footing to the NHS so the Government needs to follow up today’s encouraging step with action to inject further much-needed funding into social care in the final Local Government Finance Settlement.

“This is the best way to ensure people get the care and support they deserve and to alleviate the pressure on the NHS.”

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9 Responses to Jeremy Hunt becomes secretary of state for health and social care

  1. BIA January 9, 2018 at 12:50 am #

    Health & Social belong together…a good move. I hope Hunt will consider 7 days opening of Social Care and allied professions as well. Currently the Social Care grinds to a halt out-of-hours operating on minimal staffing with most EDTs prioritsing Child protection and Mental Health Act work.

    • TPH January 9, 2018 at 5:15 pm #

      I don’t see why when all the various parts of Health are not already working 7 days. Just because there was a ruckus about Junior doctors working 7 days, don’t make the mistake that all of the health actors needed to ensure a proper 7 day service are in place.

  2. rob January 9, 2018 at 4:41 pm #

    well that will be social care placed in an even bigger crisis than now

    This must be a joke
    its not April the 1st yet is it

  3. Maharg January 10, 2018 at 11:47 am #

    Cry a harry and let slip the dogs of Privatisation.

    Let’s remember what a good outcome privatisation of the railway system did, different owners, different people repairing the track, and all the promises of how good it will be.
    Clairvoyants may be in disbelief.

  4. Glyn January 10, 2018 at 11:55 am #

    Last one to leave the building close the door please…..

  5. Kelly B January 10, 2018 at 12:18 pm #

    Given the state of the NHS under his watch and the current government’s move towards widespread privatisation of services, this doesn’t bode well. An already under-resourced area, with little support from government as it is, I can’t see there being a tidal change with droves of people wanting to work in social care any time soon.
    Will social care remain the poor relation, as it has been with education previously?
    Will the like of Jeremy Hunt appreciate and understand the realities of the work done within social care?
    Is he Michael Gove in disguise?
    If a predictor of the likelihood of someone acting in a particular way is that they have done it before, unless he has some kind of intervention and shows capacity for change I would suggest the likelihood is relatively high. Yes, I am a social worker – can you tell…?

  6. Katie Politico January 10, 2018 at 11:23 pm #

    Okay health AND social care. How will the Secretary of State ‘balance’ the non-means-tested NHS with means-tested social care?

    • Chris-G January 11, 2018 at 8:02 pm #

      He’s unbalanced as it is now….. I doubt this will ever get sorted out….. Getting ill reduces income and prospects….. Then they make you pay for car that others get for free……..

  7. John wellman January 29, 2018 at 10:31 am #

    Is this why the CCG’s have been told to cut back 855 million pounds they are not getting more money just cutting back on other services like CHC SERVICES?