Hutton attempts to soothe takeover fear

Health minister John Hutton urged social services directors not
to be afraid of “Big Brother NHS” and actively seek much closer
working arrangements with health bodies.

He said the new care trusts at the centre of the government’s
agenda meant that social care had to move closer to the NHS.

But he reassured the Association of Directors of Social Services
Spring Seminar in Oxford that social care is not facing a
“takeover” by the NHS.

“We should be absolutely confident and not fear the unknown as I
know some people do,” he said.

Hutton added that the sector had to “roll up its sleeves” and
work more closely with the NHS and the independent sector because
the government believed “very strongly” that was the right thing to

He praised social care as one of the engines driving society,
and said he was proud of the work done by social services.

The quality agenda promoted by the government would help to put
social care “up in lights” and address some of the negative
publicity social workers have received in recent years, he

Meanwhile, he said he hoped the introduction of the three-year
degree would help to establish social work as a profession of equal
value with teachers and medical profession.

The “breakneck” speed of reform would continue if Labour wins
the general election, he added, with legislation to follow the
white papers on adoption and mental health.

Moira Gibb, ADSS president, paid tribute to Hutton as an
“important friend of social care”, and said that no one should
underestimate the contribution he has made to the development of
social care services.

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