January 23, 2018

At last, could health and social care finally be seen as one now that Jeremy Hunt’s has a new job title: ‘Secretary of State for Health and Social Care’.

By Jackie Fender, Younifi

At last, could health and social care finally be seen as one now that Jeremy Hunt’s has a new job title: ‘Secretary of State for Health and Social Care’.

But what’s in a title? Well, if we take a lead from Shakespeare’s Juliet not much. A quick Internet search however suggests the importance of a job title is often underestimated. Apparently a good title accurately reflects the role and responsibilities and motives the employee. Given that social care has been part of the department for years is this a genuine signal of change or merely a symbolic move?

Is this a seminal moment for our communities, health, care and support services? Is it the moment we really start to get our act together? Is this the beginning of a holistic approach, seamless service delivery and of course equal partnership?

A genuine step change or not, should we use it as a springboard to positively influence the tone and direction of discussions you and I are having today?

Should we seize the opportunity to break perverse initiatives and targets in which investment in one area of health and social care suffocates another?

Is this the moment talk of prevention, early intervention and wellbeing; of asset based approaches, building personal and community resilience, co-designing services with the people associated to them, embracing technology and good practices are appropriately implemented, invested and scaled up across the whole system?

Will this mark the beginning of honest, open discussion with and between communities, health, care, support services and the Government about the current state of play, new ways of working and future funding models?

Adding a couple of words to a title may be considered immaterial, but words are powerful, they start wars, create peace and can revolutionise thinking.

Ultimately it is for each and every one of us to decide what if anything we will do different. And for the Secretary of Health and Social Care … well if the title is anything to go by a move towards a more coherent approach to health and social care should become apparent in the near future.