The president of ADASS Harold Bodmer passed away suddenly yesterday during a meeting of Norfolk council’s health and social care executive.
Mr Bodmer collapsed at the meeting shortly before 4pm Wednesday evening. The health care professionals in attendance provided help and an emergency team was called but he could not be revived.
Harold Bodmer was the executive director of adult social services for the county and was, according to a colleague, the ‘epitome of public service’.
‘I cannot think of a single man who has risen to the top of his profession as Harold did this year and been so universally liked,’ Cllr Cliff Jordan, leader of Norfolk County Council, said.
‘He was the very epitome of public service and of the caring professions. It goes without saying that our thoughts are with his family at this very distressing time.’
The vice president of ADASS, Margaret Willcox, and the immediate past president, Ray James, characterised him as a professional with integrity and compassion.
‘Many people today have used the words "such a lovely, honourable man" capturing how, in addition to his professionalism and expertise, his values, integrity, compassion, humility and warmth meant Harold was not only deeply respected but also held in great affection by so many people,’ they said.
‘Harold has made an enormous contribution to the people of Norfolk, to our Association and to the wider health and care sector.’
Mr Bodmer, who was born in 1955 in what was then Rhodesia, served ADASS as regional chair, then vice president before becoming president in April this year.
In his speech on becoming president of ADASS, Mr Bodmer stressed the importance of campaigning for properly funded social care.
‘We need a social movement about social care, a campaign that starts now and reaches out over the next few years,’ he said.
‘We need to go into the next Comprehensive Spending Review with it being an absolute given that social care needs to be properly funded.’
He also emphasised the importance of home care and integration of health and social care.
‘Sustainability of home care is certainly what keeps me awake at night,’ he said.
‘We need to up the level of debate about this, increase the volume, share best practice, run innovation masterclasses, whatever we need to do.’
‘We will never bring any meaning to integration while the bulk of home care is still based on time and task and on the whole unconnected to the mainstream NHS provider services,’ he added.
Former ADASS president and deputy chief Local Government Association, Sarah Pickup, said: 'I am devastated by the news of Harold's death. Having known Harold for many years, he was not just a colleague but a close friend as well. I respected and admired Harold enormously for his unwavering commitment and dedication to social care, which was second to none.
'He had already made a major impact in his short time as ADASS President and the biggest tribute we can now all pay is to build on his legacy to strive for the vision of social care he articulated so passionately.'