Mike Padgham, chair of North Yorkshire’s Independent Care Group, intends to write to Matt Hancock’s success today – and invite him to the region to see the day-to-day staffing and funding difficulties for himself.
Meanwhile Jeremy Hunt, chair of Parliament’s Health Committee, served notice that Mr Javid had just six months to come up with long-term funding plans first promised by Boris Johnson in July 2019.
Mr Hunt, who was also the now departed Mr Hancock’s predecessor at the Department of Health, also warned that Parliament’s ‘Lessons Learned’ inquiry into the pandemic is likely to be damning – notably over the rules that saw elderly hospital patients transferred to Covid-infected care homes with tragic consequences.
He said Britain witnessed “some of the worst failures of the state in our lifetime” last year, but “also some of the biggest successes” – a reference to the Covid vaccine programme. Any “dispassionate judgement”, said Mr Hunt, will have to put “two very contradictory things side be side” as he described this as a “now or never” moment to fix the social care system.
This urgency was welcomed by Mr Padgham whose letter to Mr Hancock in April 2020, warning of the humanitarian catastrophe in care homes, was ignored by the then Cabinet minister.
He then hand-delivered a follow-up letter earlier this month, personally giving it to Care Minister Helen Whately. This, too, had not received a response by the time Mr Hancock tendered his resignation after being caught flouting social distancing rules.
“I would like to congratulate Sajid Javid on his appointment and wish him every success,” said Mr Padgham before challenging the Minister to be “bold”. “If the Secretary of State needs some help on the much needed reform, many of us in the sector would only be too willing to step in to assist.
“I will be writing to Mr Javid today with our suggestions and an invitation visit to the front here in North Yorkshire and I hope that unlike his predecessor, I get a response.”
He added: “Show us you really care about social care and wear your Care badge at the dispatch box today…it would mean so much to the 1.5 million workforce and show they are not forgotten.”
Meanwhile Labour criticised the new appointment, with Jonathan Ashworth, the Shadow Health Secretary, condemning Mr Javid as the “architect of austerity” following previous Ministerial stints at the Treasury.