Wowed by the wooing?

When someone you aren’t expecting to be good to you confounds those expectations, it can prompt feelings of deep suspicion. But social care leaders at last week’s Birmingham conference were obviously tired of being suspicious about government intentions. Instead they seemed to be revelling in the Department of Health’s apparent attempts to woo them.

And who can blame them for being more than willing to hear health secretary Patricia Hewitt’s assurances that social care would not be swamped by the NHS in the forthcoming white paper?

Along with care services minister Liam Byrne, she seemed keen to get the message across that the government had heard professionals’ concerns about pay and the cost implications of the adult care green paper. Byrne has even put this recognition in writing, in the foreword of the publication analysing green paper responses.

Meanwhile, he was observed on a charm offensive mingling with delegates in a commendably consultative manner. Good to see ministers realising where true knowledge of social care reality resides. They just have to listen to it – and act on it.

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