Health secretary urged to come to Norfolk amid social care fears
- Credit: PA
Health secretary Sajid Javid has been urged to come to Norfolk to hear the case for money to help the most vulnerable people - and for the Queen Elizabeth Hospital to be rebuilt.
Mr Javid succeeded Matt Hancock as the health and social care secretary following the West Suffolk MP's resignation after video footage emerged of him breaching social distancing guidance by kissing aide Gina Coladangelo.
Now Andrew Proctor, leader of Conservative-controlled Norfolk County Council, has written to Mr Javid urging him to tackle the issue of a lack of long-term government funding for adult social care.
The council is facing having to make some £39m of savings next year, including £17.7m from the budget for adult social care.
A green paper on social care reform has been delayed time and time again, to the frustration of politicians from all parties.
Councillors and MPs have long called for a solution to that issue - including long-term funding for social care - rather than the "sticking plaster" of raising council tax.
In his letter, Mr Proctor invited Mr Javid to come to Norfolk to see how the council and the wider health system had supported the government's work to combat Covid-19.
And he urged Mr Javid to speak to the council's adult social care director James Bullion, over the need for social services reform.
Mr Proctor wrote: "Reform of social care, including sustainable funding is top of my list as it is yours by you saying “social care remains an absolute priority for this government.”
"The pandemic has proven how crucial social care is, in supporting the vulnerable and keeping our NHS afloat."
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He said Mr Bullion, who recently completed his term as president of the Association of Directors of Adult Social Services, has "key insights into what can and should change and we would be happy to advise you".
He said constantly raising council tax to cover costs was "a massive problem that will only get worse".
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Mr Proctor also said he wanted an integrated health and social care system on county boundaries, rather than the existing Norfolk and Waveney model.
And he urged Mr Javid to rebuild the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in King's Lynn, where part of the building is being held up by almost 200 props.
Mr Proctor, who had written to Mr Hancock about that issue, said: "This cannot be allowed to continue in this day and age."
The EDP's Rebuild The QEH campaign petition at https://tinyurl.com/7n7z5j67 has been signed by more than 7,500 people.