New health ministers join UK government’s health team; Hunt remains in charge

Alistair Burt (left), new minister for care and support and Ben Gummer, MP, new junior health minister

Two new faces join the UK government’s health team following the Conservative Party’s general election victory and the prime minister’s cabinet reshuffle.

Alistair Burt, a former deputy chairman of the Conservative party, becomes minister for care and support. Burt, who has also been a junior minister at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, replaces Liberal Democrat MP Norman Lamb.

Lamb, one of the few Lib Dem MPs to be re-elected on 8 May 2015, announced on 12 May 2015 that he is standing for election to become the party’s next leader following the resignation of Nick Clegg on 9 May 2015.

MP Ben Gummer replaces Daniel Poulter as a junior health minister. The MP is the eldest son of former Tory cabinet minister John, now Lord Gummer. Gummer moves to health from education where he was the private secretary of education secretary Nicky Morgan.

There was no change at the top of the health team with Jeremy Hunt holding on to his secretary of state title. Hunt took over the role in 2012 when he replaced Andrew Lansley, the architect of the controversial Health and Social Care Act.

Hunt, who said he was humbled to be reappointed, revealed his priority will be to transform care outside of hospital.

In a statement issued on 12 May 2015, he said: “All of us want every single older and vulnerable person to be treated with the highest standards of care — so we need a step change in services offered through GP surgeries, community care and social care. That is my mission, and I know it is the mission of the whole NHS too.”

Jane Ellison tweeted on her personal Twitter account that she has been reappointed as public health minister. The Department of Health confirmed this several hours later, also announcing that George Freeman has kept his job as minister for life sciences.

Earl Howe has been appointed as a defence minister. He was previously minister for health quality, responsible for the pharmacy portfolio, for the past five years.

  • This article was updated on 12 May 2015 to confirm the reappointments of Jane Ellison as public health minister and George Freeman as minister for life sciences, and again on 15 May 2015 to include Earl Howe’s appointment as defence minister.
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The Pharmaceutical Journal, New health ministers join UK government’s health team; Hunt remains in charge;Online:DOI:10.1211/PJ.2015.20068542

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