The health and social care secretary, Matt Hancock, has made trips to see 22 hospitals since starting his job in July last year, but has only visited three care homes.
The contrast between the hospital visits and trips to care homes has sparked criticism from elderly charities and the care sector who say the truth highlights just how much of a Cinderella service social care is when compared with the NHS.
Mr Hancock’s few care home visits were revealed in Westminster on 8 February. In a written parliamentary question, Diana Johnson, the MP for Kingston Upon Hull North, asked which care homes the health secretary ‘has visited in an official capacity’ since his appointment.
Caroline Dinenage, care minster, told Ms Johnson that the health secretary had seen just three.
On 19 July 2018, Mr Hancock visited Bridgeside Lodge Residential Care Centre in London and on 10 September he visited Westbury Fields Retirement Village in Bristol. This was followed by a November visit to Meadow View Residential and Community Care Centre in Matlock.
In contrast, Ms Dinenage was reported to have visited three care homes in just one week last year.
In Mr Hancock’s first speech in July as the health and social care secretary, he said: “With demands rising, we must find a way to make health and care – by which I mean the whole health and social care system – sustainable for the long term.”
But the elderly, disabled and care charities across the UK are still waiting for the publication of the social care green paper, while the NHS’ long-term plan was published at the start of this year.