That Matt Hancock chose not to respond in person, instead leaving his unfortunate junior minister Helen Whately to face this inquisition on her 45th birthday, is another example of the Health and (supposedly) Social Care Secretary abdicating his responsibilities and treating both the care sector, and country, with his customary contempt.
And Mr Hancock’s absence made a further mockery of Boris Johnson’s tribute, minutes earlier, to unpaid carers exactly 100 weeks after the Prime Minister confirmed, on the steps of 10 Downing Street as he took office, that he already possessed “a clear plan” to “give every older person the dignity and security they deserve”.
Not only was it a tacit admission that the Prime Minister, Chancellor and Health Secretary are deadlocked over the way forward, hence the cancellation of their pre-announced strategy meeting on Tuesday, but it also reflected very poorly on Mr Hancock’s character just a day after dismissing questions from Sky News presenter Kay Burley on this issue as “total rubbish”.
And while Ms Whately did her best after receiving the political equivalent of a ‘hospital pass’ from her ‘careless’ boss, she said little to reassure families that the hiatus is being used to look at how best to integrate hospital and social care, promote caring as a career, help councils with funding, support younger adults with specific needs and guarantee that the elderly receive dignified care.
The fact that Mr Hancock, again, declined the chance to engage with this issue, and offer any sort of update, shows that he does not care sufficiently to continue to be entrusted with such an important policy agenda.
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