Former health minister Jacqui Smith’s depth of knowledge and
passion for social care will be sorely missed.
The fact that responsibility for community care has now passed down
to a junior minister, Stephen Ladyman, is further evidence of a
continuing diminution of the role of social care in the Department
of Health. With no track record in the field, apart from his
interest in autism, Ladyman will need to master his new brief
rapidly if he is to make an impact.
The carve up of ministerial appointments appears something of a
dog’s dinner from a social care perspective. Why on earth has the
community care minister lost responsibility for adult mental health
services, which will now be considered alongside emergency care,
diabetes and transplants?
Meanwhile, it is not only the DoH that must now show social care
that it is taken seriously. Margaret Hodge has started well, but so
far the Department for Education and Skills is not replacing social
care’s power base in government.