New health and social care secretary announced

Jeremy Hunt leaves the role after more than five years to become foreign secretary as Matt Hancock is promoted

Picture: Fotolia/downunderphoto

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.

‘Important time’

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.

Busy period

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.

4 Responses to New health and social care secretary announced

  1. Lin Newton July 11, 2018 at 1:49 pm #

    Hancock – supporter of private health and total destruction of the NHS doesn’t bode well for Social Care remaining a public service!

  2. Gillian Dalley July 11, 2018 at 9:54 pm #

    But the real problem that is never acknowledged is that social care is already a privatised service – for which almost half of service users (self-funders) pay for themselves anyway. Publicly provided social care is a long-gone service. It’s nonsense for politicians to call for integration of health and social care. They are different animals.You can’t integrate cats with dogs, hamsters with canaries. Private providers extract profits for themselves and then either demand local authorities pay more for the service users they do pay for – or pile extra hikes in fees on self-funders to compensate, so ensuring their own bank accounts remain safe.The social care work force is poorly paid and barely trained with little career progression or fair pension provision. Politicians – or at least those who want to protect public provision – fail to understand these basic facts. Moreover, they need to understand that the NHS is at risk of the same fate. Private providers are already wheedling their way into the health sector – look at Virgin for example. Politicians neglect social care because they don’t understand it. People in need of care suffer very very deeply as a result. I am sure that a politician like Matt Hancock, already sympathetic to an ideology that favours privatising the NHS, will remain uninterested in their fate.

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  3. Planet Autism July 16, 2018 at 7:01 pm #

    So Hancock will be just as ‘good’ at the job as Hunt…

  4. Di Wright July 18, 2018 at 11:01 am #

    My Great Aunt paid BUPA Kensington over £600,000 for staying (mostly sleeping) in their care home for 10 years. She lived and worshipped in Kensington, so it was right she should stay in the area. Over her lifetime she cost the NHS practically nothing as she had only one simple operation and she took no regular medications. She died recently aged 99, but all her assets went to BUPA rather than to the people and charities she wanted to benefit from her Will. Now will someone please tell me, HOW CAN THAT BE FAIR??? Perhaps the new Secretary for Health and Social Care would like to give me an answer. Yes, its fair that people with assets pay SOME of their care costs, but surely not over £0.5M. The Political Parties need to work together to find a fair solution to this problem, because like taxes and death, as we have an ageing population, cost of elderly care is another problem we cannot escape from.