What Sajid Javid must now do for social care – Mike Padgham

THIS is an open letter that care home boss Mike Padgham has written to Sajid Javid, the new Health and Social Care Secretary, following the resignation of Matt Hancock.

Mike Padgham (right) visits his 93-year-old mother Phyllis Padgham (centre) with Activities Assistant Charlotte Henderson (left) at St Cecilia's Nursing Home in Scarborough, North Yorkshire.

When Mr Hancock resigned last Saturday, he – and his office – had still not replied to Mr Padgham’s letters of April 2020, or last month, about the crisis in social care.

Answering questions from MPs on Monday about his new role, Mr Javid confirmed: “Social care remains an absolute priority for this Government, and for me.”

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Dear Mr Javid,

Mike Padgham is chair of the Independent Care Group.

ON behalf of the Independent Care Group, I would like to firstly congratulate you on your new post and very much hope you will enjoy the role.

I know your in-tray will be bursting with priority tasks as you take over the reins of the department – not least the job of guiding the country through the remainder of the Covid-19 pandemic.

However, I do want to appeal to you to tackle what I believe is, the pandemic aside, the biggest and most serious issue facing this country and that is the crisis in social care.

In the first instance I would like to invite you to visit, see the crisis on the frontline and meet with the Independent Care Group to discuss the current situation.

I have written to your predecessor on numerous occasions but have not received a reply.

I hope we can begin a better dialogue on what is a rapidly escalating crisis.

If you are not able to join us in North Yorkshire, can I suggest that we meet in London, at your earliest convenience?

As I am sure you are aware, social care is experiencing 
severe difficulties having been starved of funding for a generation and desperately needing the reform that has been long promised.

Some £8bn has been cut from social care budgets since 2010 and more than 1.6m people are now living without the care they need.

The Prime Minister said tackling social care was a priority, but this has been derailed time and time again.

The Covid-19 pandemic has further ravaged an already depleted sector.

Care providers, already on their knees following years of neglect, have been dealt a bitter and potentially fatal blow by the pandemic.

Rising costs associated with tackling the pandemic and the failure of bed occupancy rates to recover have plunged many into extreme financial difficulty.

There have already been provider failures and more will come unless action is taken swiftly.

Those caring for people in their own home through domiciliary care – a central plank in the Government policy on social care – are also struggling and there have been provider losses here too.

We cannot go on like this 
any longer or the social care system will collapse through 
a loss of providers and that 
will be devastating for the millions of people who rely on services for a decent quality of life.

If the Treasury is the barrier, the Chancellor must be told that change has to happen, whatever the cost.

Reform of the social care sector offers you and the Government a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to go down in history as the Secretary of State and the administration that finally resolved how we care for the country’s most vulnerable.

The chance to create a Bevin moment is there to be taken.

I hope you will seize that opportunity and accept our help in doing so.

We have many ideas and suggestions as to how the crisis can be tackled and how we can together work out a way that provides the best social care for older and vulnerable adults, which I am sure is what we are all striving for.

I thank you for your time and very much hope you will be able to meet with us at your earliest convenience.

Yours sincerely,

Mike Padgham

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