Helen Whately has found time to be out on the stump with Conservative candidates in the local elections. We hear that they are focusing on the new estates where many electors will have no knowledge of why the Conservatives were wiped out at the last local elections in Faversham.
Our MP was the Minister of State, in the Department of Health and Social Care from 13 February 2020 to 16 September 2021, when she was moved to the post of Exchequer Secretary in the Treasury. She was out of ministerial office from 7 July 2022 until 26 October, when Rishi Sunak appointed her again to her old job as Minister of State, in the Department of Health and Social Care.
After the bruising time she had during the pandemic when she had responsibility for Social Care, we were surprised that she took the job again. Remember the media coverage and anger over deaths from Covid, discharges from hospitals to care homes and the issues around visiting. In May 2020 the Kent Messenger Group online reported that "Care homes made up 40% of Covid-19 deaths in Kent.
The independent public inquiry to examine the Covid-19 pandemic in the UK has only just begun work. It is highly unlikely to have reported on before the next general election. However, our MP should expect to be questioned about her work as Care Minister, as well as other local issues. She needs to be held to account.
Our MP is currently responsible for adult social care, funding & markets, quality and workforce, community health services, "integration, including discharge" , dementia, end-of-life care, long-term conditions, cancer, diabetes and strokes. If you have concerns about social care or any of the other areas of her responsibility, ask Helen Whately about them and if you are not content with the answer let us know.
In December 2021 ministers pledged to invest "at least £500m over the next three years to begin to transform the way we support the social care workforce." This has been cut to £250m Sally Warren, director of policy at the health think tank The Kings Fund, is quoted in the The Telegraph (04/04.2023) saying that the plans are "a dim shadow of the widescale reform to adult social care that the government came into office promising." Care homes are short 165,000 care workers, with staff turnover at 29%. Helen Whately is reported in The Telegraph, saying that the package "focuses on recognising care with the status it deserves." Really?
Source: Office for National Statistics - Deaths involving COVID-19 in the care sector