Jeremy Hunt MP, the Minister for Health has been given the title of Secretary of State for Health and Social Care in the Prime Minister, Theresa May's cabinet reshuffle. The Department of Health will also now be known as the Department of Health and Social Care.
Vic Rayner, NCF Executive Director welcomed the recognition of social care in the Minister's title and portfolio saying, 'The recognition of social care within the Secretary of State's portfolio is welcome. There has been a great frustration within social care about the lack of parity between health and social care, despite the previous Department of Health having social care within it’s brief.
'This renewed focus on social care, alongside the work being undertaken around the Green Paper on adult social care, presents an opportunity for real concrete change...We look forward to working with the new Secretary of State for Health and Social Care and the Green Paper team to help bring understanding of the challenges and opportunities facing the care sector, and the critical role of the not for profit care sector in supporting future change.'
Glen Garrod, Vice President of the Association for the Directors of Adult Social Services (ADASS), said, 'This is a welcome recognition of the importance of social care. ADASS has long called for a more coherent approach towards health and social care, and ensuring that the responsible Government department does this is an essential first step.
'We hope the Secretary of State will see social care as crucial in its own right, and not just viewed through the prism of what it can do for healthcare.'
From a health point of view, Niall Dickson, Chief Executive of the NHS Confederation, said, 'We welcome this decision which should provide continuity at what is an extremely difficult time for both health and social care in England.
'We will have to see the detail of what is meant by the new title but we have consistently argued that health and social care are mutually dependent and that they need to be considered together at both national and local level. To that extent this looks like a good move.'
Liberal Democrat former Care Minister Norman Lamb, was less welcoming of the announcement calling it a gimmick. He commented, 'The Department of Health was already responsible for social care policy. As health minister responsible for social care, I took the Care Act through Parliament – introducing a cap on care costs that has since been abandoned by the Conservatives.
'So what does this new title actually mean? Unless the Government is proposing a radical change to social care funding, it looks like mere window dressing. This kind of gimmick is no substitute for finding a long-term solution to the crisis facing the NHS and social care.'