Don’t delay social care reform, Sajid Javid told by head of Yorkshire care group

Sajid Javid has been urged to put in place a long-term funding plan for social care by the head of a Yorkshire independent care group in a video message inspired by Bob Dylan.

The Independent Care Group (ICG) warns that a sector already on “its knees” in England after “30 years of being ignored” is set to face a tidal wave of aftershock effects from the pandemic.

In a renewed call of action Mike Padgham, the chair of the ICG, has spelled out the need for urgent reform in a special message on the doorstep of the Department for Health and Social Care.

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What Sajid Javid must now do for social care – Mike Padgham
Mike Padgham, the chair of the provider organisation the Independent Care Group (ICG), has spelled out the need for urgent reform in a special message on the doorstep of the Department for Health and Social Care in a new video message. Photo credit: PA

Mr Padgham, who is also the managing director of the Scarborough-based care provider St Cecilia's, which operates four care homes across North Yorkshire has also directly invited Mr Javid to visit the region to see first hand the detrimental effects caused by “ignoring a sector” by successive governments.

Mr Javid took on his role as Health and Social Secretary last week after a humiliated Matt Handcock quit after the leaking CCTV video footage showed the married father-of-three breaking social distancing rules by embracing his aide Gina Coladangelo in his ministerial office.

Mr Padgham told The Yorkshire Post: “We have to make sure he doesn’t forget social care like many have done in the past.

“Alongside the pandemic it should be the number one priority because if social care fails all it does is pile pressure on the NHS - that can’t happen.

Pictured, Mike Padgham, the chair of the provider organisation the Independent Care Group (ICG). In a new video Mr Padgham has spelled out the need for urgent reform in a special message on the doorstep of the Department for Health and Social Care. Photo credit: Submitted picture

“We need reform now, we need to make sure the spotlight doesn’t move off social care because it is in crisis, and local authorities are in a very difficult position.”

To reiterate his message Mr Padgham has recorded a video, which had been seen by this newspaper, on the steps of 39 Victoria Street in London - where the Department of Health and Social Care is based - addressed directly to Mr Javid.

He previously penned an open letter to Mr Javid on his first day in his new secretary of state post, as reported by this newspaper, but Mr Padgham said he was "doubtful" it had been read by the Health and Social Secretary.

The media message was inspired by the video for Bob Dylan’s Subterranean Homesick Blues filmed behind the Savoy Hotel in London in 1964.

Pictured, Health Secretary Sajid Javid this week. He has been urged to put in place a long-term funding plan for social care amid warning from a Yorkshire independent care group that a sector already on “its knees” after “30 years of being ignored” is set to face a tidal wave of aftershock effects from the pandemic. Photo credit: PA

Mr Padgham said: “I’ve tried every way - letters, calls goodness knows what - Bob Dylan inspired me about how to get a message over really - and I hope this works.

“This is a polite way of getting a message through somehow.

“The challenge was to find a novel way to get a message across to the new Secretary of State in a very visual way.”

In the video Mr Padgham says: “Hello Mr Javid, congratulations on your new job. I was just passing and I wondered if you had read my letter yet? 1.5m people are waiting for an answer and for you to tackle social care.

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, in March this year. Photo credit: Danny Lawson/PA

“I have been waiting 30+ years.

“Please come and visit us in North Yorks. I have every faith in you… Be bold and solve the crisis. I look forward to hearing from you!”

Mr Padgham added: “I was in London and thought it was too good an opportunity to miss as I knew I would be passing 39 Victoria Street and could leave a message for Mr Javid, as part of our ongoing campaign to get reform for social care.”

The health care leader highlighted 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.

Mr Padgham said: “I would like him to come by North Yorkshire - or I’m happy to go there and talk to him.

“I would like to say come and see the front line, come and see care homes, come and see care home providers which is a central plank of Government’s policy.

“Meet the people in the front line and hear from them, particularly staff who deserve to be paid more.

“See how starved of cash local authorities are and that’s where we need to be bold and listen.

“What I’m hoping for is some action rather than a bland response from civil servants that everyone gets.”

In his previous letter to Mr Javid, Mr Padgham wrote: “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.

"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.”

The health care leader added he hoped Mr Javid would seize an opportunity to go down in history as the secretary of state who finally tackled social care.

A Department of Health and Social Care spokesperson said: "We are committed to the sustainable improvement of the adult social care system and, as set out in the Queen’s Speech, we will bring forward proposals later this year to ensure every person receives the care they need, provided with the dignity they deserve.

"We are working closely with local and national partners to ensure our approach to reform is informed by diverse perspectives, including from people with lived experience of the care sector."

Mr Javid was also approached by The Yorkshire Post for comment.

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