4 weeks ago I got a phone call on a Saturday morning which I certainly wasn’t expecting. It was from the new Prime Minister asking me to join the Government as a Junior Minister.
In the last Parliament I was an unofficial member of the Government as a Parliamentary Private Secretary but that job essentially involves passing notes and sitting in on meetings. Now I have my own private office and my own portfolio of responsibilities.
My official title is Parliamentary Undersecretary of State for Community Health & Care. I’m responsible for adult social care, community health services and primary care (including GPs, dentistry, pharmacy etc.).
It’s a big job and for the last few weeks I’ve been through a string of meetings, briefings and visits to introduce me to all the key issues and stakeholders involved. One of the areas I cover is that of adult social care.
Social Care is one of the biggest issues this country faces over the next decade. How we care for a population which is aging and how we fund that care is a challenge that has been put off for far too long. As a consequence we are seeing many signs of strain in the system.
The problems in social care are backing up into the NHS. Too many older people are left lying in hospital beds, despite their treatment being complete, because there is no social care package in place to allow them to go back to their homes or no available care home spaces for them to move into. When those beds are occupied it causes queues in A&E because patients can’t be admitted until there is a bed free for them. And of course the whole thing costs the NHS money.
I’m keen to hear from constituents how they think the system can be improved and obviously I’m still available to assist with any issues people have with the NHS.
I would not have taken this role if I felt in would have adversely impacted my role as the local MP. Despite my new job I’m keen to remain accessible to my constituents in Warrington South, so if there is anything I can help with, please email me email@example.com