Week in Westminster 14 Feb 2020.

Your weekly round-up from the Campaigns & Public Affairs team.

Rethink Mental Illness in Parliament 

  • We met with Baroness Penn, who was a senior advisor in Number 10 when Theresa May was Prime Minister, to discuss our Mental Health Act campaign.
  • We spoke with the Labour Campaign for Mental Health about their priorities for the year.
  • We tweeted the Labour leadership candidates to ask them to make a pledge on mental health.

Cabinet reshuffle

A reshuffle of Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s cabinet took place this week.

Former Chair of the APPG on Mental Health Helen Whately MP was appointed Minister of State for Care in the Department of Health and Social Care. Helen replaces Caroline Dinenage and will be responsible for overseeing all aspects of adult social care and health and social care integration.

Matt Hancock remains as Secretary of State for Health and Social Care and Nadine Dorries remains Minister for Mental Health.

Esther McVey was sacked as Housing Minister and was replaced by Christopher Pincher MP.

Therese Coffey remains as Secretary of State for Work and Pensions and Robert Jenrick stays as Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government.

Prime Minister’s Questions

Dean Russell MP, the new Conservative member for Watford, asked the Prime Minister during PMQs on Wednesday if he would support “new initiative [in his] constituency to train mental health first aiders in schools, workplaces and the community throughout the constituency to tackle loneliness and challenge mental health stigma”. In response, Johnson thanked Russell for the work he was doing to champion mental health in Watford.

Dean Russell is a new Vice Chair of the APPG on Mental Health.

Jeremy Hunt – the Bedpan

The Health Service Journal (HSJ) ‘Bedpan’, which regularly interviews political or influential figures in health and care, this week spoke to Jeremy Hunt MP who has been elected the new Chair of the Health and Social Care Select Committee.

On social care, Hunt told the HSJ: “What I’m looking for more than anything is a significant increase in the ability of local authorities to fund core adult social care requirements. Unless we fund that, we’ll condemn the NHS to an endless cycle of winter crises. That core increase in local authorities’ spending power, however it is delivered, is to me absolutely critical for the NHS. Without that change, more vulnerable older people will end up in NHS hospitals and [accident and emergency departments] will continue to fall over year in, year out”.

The role of the Select Committee is to scrutinise government policy on health and social care through regular inquiries. The former Chair Sarah Wollaston lost her seat at the 2019 General Election. 

 

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