Matt Hancock has been appointed as health and social care secretary after Jeremy Hunt was promoted to the role of foreign secretary.
Like Hunt, Hancock previously served as secretary for digital, culture, media and sport, but joins the Department of Health and Social Care following a small cabinet reshuffle, which was prompted by the departure of Boris Johnson.
The new secretary of state took to his official Twitter account to say he was looking forward to working with the Department at “such an important time for our great NHS”, adding he “couldn’t wait to get started”.
But the MP for West Suffolk failed to give social care similar attention, perhaps indicating where his prioritises will be focused as he begins work.
Similarly, Hunt chose not to mention social care in his tweets, stating it was a “massive blow to leave health”. He said the appointment of Hancock would benefit the NHS’ long term plan because of his understanding of technology.
Couldn’t ask for a better successor than @matthancock to take forward long term NHS plan with his brilliant understanding of the power of technology. The new NHS app will be in safe hands!
— Jeremy Hunt (@Jeremy_Hunt) July 9, 2018
Despite a failure to acknowledge social care, one of major items in Hancock’s in-tray will be the adult social care green paper, which is due this autumn.
The publication of the document had originally been scheduled for the summer. But the injection of an extra £20bn a year for the NHS led the government to delay the paper, with Hunt stating it wanted to “integrate plans for social care with the new NHS plan”.
Yet, questions have now been raised over how a change of personnel could affect progress on the green paper. The British Association of Social Workers (BASW) said: “We fear this might create even further delay for the publication of the green paper, which would be inexcusable.”
Hancock will also oversee a number of other important issues within social care, including the Mental Capacity (Amendment) Bill, the Independent Review of the Mental Health Act and the Transforming Care programme to improve community-based support for people with learning disabilities.
In his previous position, Hancock oversaw the broadband investment policy, which aims to provide UK households with superfast broadband by 2020.