Hunt apologises as woman describes social care experience as ‘most difficult thing she has ever faced’

Former health secretary Jeremy Hunt has apologised to a woman who said navigating the social care system with her mother was the most difficult thing she has ever faced in her life.

Mr Hunt (pictured) thanked Daphne Havercroft for the “extremely powerful testimony” she gave to the Health and Social Care Committee which has launched an inquiry to establish how much money the social care sector needs to avoid shortages.

Ms Havercroft had a number of challenges accessing social care for her mother Dorothy who died last year at the age of 97.

She told the committee, chaired by Mr Hunt, that there were 101 people involved in her mother’s case.

“I’m sure that none of those 101 people intended any harm to Dorothy, but they didn’t really take effective action to avert the crises that led to three hospital admissions,” she said.

“And we didn’t see them working across organisation boundaries to plan and deliver an integrated health and social care package to enable Dorothy to go home safely.”

Ms Havercroft said her perception was that the priority of the hospital discharge teams and community health and social care teams was to “spend as little money as possible to support an old lady to live at home safely and to help her avoid repeat hospital admissions”.

She told the committee: “One thing I would say is that I’m pretty good at finding out things and acting upon them, but I just think what we dealt with in trying to support my mother was actually, I think, the most difficult thing I’ve had to deal with in my life.

“And if I found it difficult, I just think how many other families are finding it even more difficult as well?”

Mr Hunt said he is sure Ms Havercroft’s mother was “a very special person”, adding: “I was health secretary when she was admitted to hospital for the first time, and I think the least I can do is apologise to you for the fact that we didn’t manage to sort out the disjuncture between the health and social care systems in time for Dorothy’s care.

“But I hope we can do something as a select committee to highlight both the problem and the solutions, and thank you for taking the trouble to talk to us in such detail about what you’ve been through.”

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