Care sector leaders have given their reactions after Sajid Javid replaced Matt Hancock as Secretary of State for Health & Social Care.
Mr Javid’s appointment came after a tumultuous weekend which saw the resignation of Matt Hancock after The Sun’s publication of pictures showing him kissing his aide Gina Coladangelo.
In his resignation letter to the PM, Mr Hancock issued an apology for breaching social distancing guidance.
Previously to the revelations of his affair, Mr Hancock had come under fire from Mr Cummings who alleged to an MPs’ Committee inquiry that the former Secretary of State had promised that patients discharged from hospitals during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic would be tested before admission to hospital.
Mr Hancock issued a firm denial of the allegations citing the fact that Mr Cummings had failed to fulfil his promise to produce written evidence to the Committee.
Mr Hancock’s resignation was welcomed as the “bare minimum required” by Jayne Connery, Director of Care Campaign for the Vulnerable (CCFTV), given his breach of social distancing rules.
Jayne said Mr Hancock would remain accountable for his decisions when a public inquiry into the pandemic is held next year.
The CCFTV head said Mr Hancock had “presided over a series of lockdowns without mandating any systems that could and should have provided regulators with an ability to monitor the delivery of care remotely”.
Professor John Ashton, author of Blinded by Corona, How the Pandemic is Ruining Our Health and Wealth, said Mr Hancock’s handling of the coronavirus crisis had been an “unmitigated disaster” whose “flawed public-policy decisions” had cost many lives.
Incoming Secretary of State, Mr Javid previously served as Home Secretary and more recently Chancellor of the Exchequer where he resigned in February 2020 after clashing with Mr Cummings.
Mr Javid said: “I’m incredibly honoured to take up the post of Health and Social Care Secretary, particularly during such an important moment in our recovery from COVID-19. This position comes with a huge responsibility and I will do everything I can to deliver for the people of this great country.
“Thanks to the fantastic efforts of our NHS and social care staff who work tirelessly every day, and our phenomenal vaccination programme, we have made enormous progress in the battle against this dreadful disease. I want our country to get out of this pandemic and that will be my most immediate priority.”
Nadra Ahmed OBE, executive chairman of the National Care Association, welcomed Mr Javid’s appointment, commenting: “His previous roles will no doubt prepare him for the battle ahead to ensure that he can create a sustainable social care sector sooner rather than later.
“I believe he will know that laying down solid foundations for a reformed social care will ultimately benefit the NHS but also serve the most vulnerable in our society with dignity. We look forward to working with him on a positive agenda.”
Professor Martin Green OBE, CEO, Care England, added: “As the largest representative body for independent providers of adult social care, Care England looks forward to working with Rt Hon Sajid Javid and will do its level best to ensure that social care will be top of his agenda. The incoming Secretary of State has the opportunity to ensure that social care no longer plays second fiddle to the NHS and recognise the symbiotic relationship between the two parts of the same system in order to move ahead with the much needed reform agenda.”