Care Minister pledges to visit front line after campaigner’s open letter in The Yorkshire Post

A GOVERNMENT minister has promised to visit North Yorkshire to meet social care providers following a major intervention in The Yorkshire Post.

Care Minister Helen Whately with Mike Padgham and a copy of The Yorkshire Post containing an open letter to Matt Hancock.

Care Minister Helen Whately made the commitment after meeting Scarborough care home boss Mike Padgham in Westminster.

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She was presented with a copy of Monday’s edition of this newspaper that contained a hard-hitting open letter from Mr Padgham to Matt Hancock, the Health Secretary, demanding additional support for the care sector in the wake of the Covid pandemic – and a need for the longer-term reform promised by Boris Johnson when he became Prime Minister.

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.

A previous letter to Mr Hancock in April last year, highlighting the scale of the crisis as care homes were tasked with looking after patients discharged from hospital with Covid, went unanswered.

The Cabinet minister is likely to be questioned about this policy when he gives evidence to Parliament’s ‘‘lessons learned’’ inquiry later this week.

However Mr Padgham, chairman of the Independent Care Group, did welcome the tone of Ms Whately’s remarks during their 30-minute meeting at the Department of Health and Social Care.

“We didn’t expect all the solutions straight away and there are no quick fixes, we are going to have to keep up the pressure,” said Mr Padgham.

Health Secretary Matt Hancock.

“But she has agreed to visit Yorkshire, when her diary allows, to see the challenges we face, which is positive.”

He went on: “She also listened to our concern that providers are facing a battle for survival against financial ruin following the pandemic.

“Many, including those who took in discharged Covid-19 patients from hospitals, are now facing dire financial difficulties because their occupancy rates have not recovered.

“We were also able to discuss issues facing homecare providers and the challenges faced by 
those who look after people in their own home, a central 
plank in the Government’s care policy.”

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