Having gained a reputation as a cautious operator since becoming Prime Minister last year, Theresa May proved she was capable of pulling a rabbit out a hat with her surprise announcement of a snap general election on June 8.
Health and social care will be a key battle ground during the campaign as the Labour Party seeks to focus on its traditional core territory by capitalising on the ongoing strains within the sectors.
For its part, the government will portray itself as the strong hand required to gain the best Brexit deal over the next three years.
With the Labour Party in disarray under Jeremy Corbyn, early polls indicate the Prime Minister will gain the strong mandate she seeks by securing a majority of more than 100 seats.
In the medium term, a big Tory win will mean business as usual for social care for good or ill.
In a potential watershed year for the sector, the initial findings of the government’s Green Paper on a future funding structure are expected later this year, while the Competition and Markets Authority’s interim report on its investigation into fair practices comes out this month.
The election of a new government is furthermore likely to see a Spending Review later this year and an acceleration of work on funding the future of social care.
Labour for its part will remain a strong local force in pockets of the country – not least in the north where Andy Burnham, who has pledged to bring social care within the NHS, has been elected Mayor of Greater Manchester.
The upshot of all this will be that an urgently needed unified, national social care system with an agreed cost of care will remain a distant pipe dream.