NHS leaders and GPs have welcomed the decision to give health secretary Jeremy Hunt the additional responsibility of social care.
Prime minister Theresa May announced on 8 January 2018 as part of her cabinet reshuffle that Hunt would now be known as secretary of state for health and social care. The Department of Health has also incorporated social care and will now be called the Department of Health and Social Care.
Two new ministers of state have been appointed to the newly-named department, Stephen Barclay and Caroline Dinenage.
Philip Dunne was removed from his post as a health minister.
The change to the health secretary’s role was welcomed by Niall Dickson, chief executive of the NHS Confederation, which represents organisations across the healthcare sector.
He said the new role was “a good move” and “should provide continuity at what is an extremely difficult time for both health and social care in England.”
He added: “We will have to see the detail of what is meant by the new title but we have consistently argued that health and social care are mutually dependent and that they need to be considered together at both national and local level.”
The expansion was also backed by the Royal College of GPs. Its chair, Helen Stokes-Lampard, said: “We support the bringing together of health and social care into the portfolio of one minister as we recognise that what happens to patients in the NHS is profoundly impacted by the state of social care.”