UK charities have urged Sajid Javid to give equal attention to both his health and social care responsibilities following his appointment.
In an open letter to the new Health and Social Care Secretary, the Social Care Innovators Group, the National Association of Care and Support Workers (NACAS) and the Care Workers’ Charity said: “We are writing to urge you to ensure the ‘social care’ remit of your role is given equal importance to your ‘health’ remit.
“We believe strongly that social care plays a vital role in supporting the NHS with the challenges it faces now and in coming out of the pandemic. However, it has the equally vital role of supporting the wellbeing of people and providing the means by which they can live the lives they want to, in the place they want to call home.”
The letter also calls on Javid to listen to the voices of people drawing on social care and the people working in the sector.
“They have the answers and are here waiting to support you to deliver on the Government’s promise to fix social care by the end of this year. It absolutely can be done if we all work together,” the letter said.
Care leaders have repeatedly lobbied for parity of esteem between health and social care, arguing that the social care staff deserve a ‘people plan’ that mirrors that of the NHS, to ensure equal pay between the sectors.
Phil Hope, co-chair of the Future Social Care Coalition and a former minister of state for care services, told a conference in February: “The government is embarking on an important reorganisation of the NHS which, quite rightly, puts collaboration not competition at its heart.
“But any reform must also seize the opportunity to put social care on an equal footing with the NHS. This means truly joining the two up as a partnership of equals to provide people with a seamless service giving better care.
“It all starts with the workforce, and a comprehensive social care ‘people plan’ should be based on a new promise to care staff that they will be given the recognition, respect and remuneration they deserve. This is in return for the amazing work they do in caring for the most vulnerable in our communities.”
Javid has been invited to join the Social Care Innovators group in a virtual meeting within the next couple of months to discuss how they can build a better social care system for all.