How does the government reshuffle affect social care?
There have been a lot of changes in government since ‘Brexit’, the resignation of David Cameron as Prime Minister and the new appointment of Theresa May in his place. Theresa May has been working on putting in place her new government structure, which has seen resignations, sackings and new roles for MPs.
It was recently unveiled that the role of Social Care Minister has been ‘downgraded’ as part of this reshuffle. The role was previously held by Alistair Burt, who has been Minster of State for Community and Social Care since May 2015, but was due to resign from the position in September this year.
Adult social care will now fall under the remit of David Mowat, who becomes Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Community Health and Care, a more junior position than that held by Alistair Burt during his tenancy. For the last eight years, the adult social care sector has been looked after by senior members of parliament; it has been handled by a Minister of State since Phil Hope in 2008.
Mr Mowat will be looking after the adult social care sector, carers, community services, cancer care, dementia care, learning disabilities and primary care services. In an article for the Warrington Guardian, Mr Mowat says: “I’m delighted and honoured to have been asked to join the Government and the new team at the Department of Health. There are huge challenges ahead, both for the NHS and our care services, as we deal with the effect of a population which is growing older.”
The government denies the change as being a ‘downgrade’. When asked by Carehome.co.uk, a spokesman responded: "The distinction between Ministers of State and Parliamentary Under Secretaries can be overestimated. The appointments are made first and then the portfolios are split. There is no correlation between the seniority of ministers and the priority given to policy areas."
There are other changes within the health and care sector. Secretary of State Jeremy Hunt now takes mental health care under his wings, alongside his other responsibilities for all areas of health policy. The new Minister of State for Health is Philip Dunne, who will look after hospital care, patient safety and NHS performance and operations, the workforce and maternity care.
There has also been a larger reorganisation in the sector, with social care, digital, technology and local government brought together to form a single directorate for community care, rather than social care being its own separate directorate.