A new Secretary of State for Health and Social Care

Ok, it’s Jeremy Hunt, so not exactly new. But the title is new – they’ve added ‘and Social Care’ at the end. This is a positive step forward – it hopefully shows the Government are thinking seriously about health and social care integration. After many months of campaigning, they’re paying attention. So what does this mean for the future? We need action, not simply a symbolic name change. We want to see health and social care genuinely on an equal footing – in planning, budget and respect for the workforce. With the social care Green Paper now the responsibility of the Department of Health, we’re hoping they won’t miss the opportunity.

Ah yes - the Green Paper

We’ve said it before, but it’s worth repeating: social care is in crisis. Last spring, after consistent campaigning, the Government decided they were going to address the problem by bringing out a Green Paper which will set out their ideas for improving the system. After some more campaigning, they told us when it will be published – this summer. We’re hoping for a Green Paper which details ambitious reforms that create a revitalised care system that is fairer, more transparency on costs, and provides long-term solutions in line with individuals’ needs and goals. Reforms should ensure that no care need is left unmet, and it needs to be really clear what the responsibility of the state is and what is down to the individual.

High hopes for Healthwatch

Last year, over 2,000 people emailed their MP, asking them to work with their local Healthwatch to introduce our 8 care home quality indicators. These indicators were designed to help people make informed decisions about their care home. So far we know five Healthwatch organisations are in the process of implementing our indicators and we’re hoping more will join them!

Keep the conversation on loneliness going

Jo Cox MP saw the damage that loneliness did in her community and was determined to find a solution. She set up the Loneliness Commission to do just that, and after her death, it was renamed in her honour. We joined forces with other organisations – including Age UK, Alzheimer’s Society and Carers UK – to help the Jo Cox Commission publish their manifesto: Combatting loneliness one conversation at a time. In 2018, we want to see their calls put into action: a new UK wide Strategy for Loneliness across all ages, a nominated lead Minister and more innovation in this area.

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