Matt Hancock becomes Health and Social Care Secretary in major reshuffle
[London, UK] Matt Hancock has been named as the new Secretary of State for Health and Social Care following a reshuffle sparked by a series of high-profile resignations in protest at the cabinet’s agreement on the future relationship between the UK and the EU.
Mr Hancock served as Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport from January 2018, and, prior to that, he was Minister of State for Digital for two years, responsible for cyber and the tech industry, among others.
Attorney general Jeremy Wright will take over Mr Hancock’s former role.
After the departure of Boris Johnson, Jeremy Hunt, the longest-serving health secretary in history, has been appointed as Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs.
In his resignation letter, Mr Johnson said it appeared the UK was ‘heading for a semi-Brexit, with large parts of the economy still locked in the EU system, but with no UK control over that system’.
Mr Hunt’s departure from the health department follows the announcement of a five-year funding settlement for the NHS, described by Health Minister James O’Shaughnessy as a ‘fitting legacy’ for his leadership.
Dr Chaand Nagpaul, BMA Council Chair, said:
“We congratulate Mr Hancock on his appointment and look forward to working constructively with him on the development of health policies to ensure safe, high quality patient care.
“While there is a new secretary of state, the challenges the health service faces remain the same. Patients are facing longer waits for care, so-called ‘winter pressures’ in the NHS are now hitting the service all year round, and it lacks doctors, nurses, and beds.
“This appointment comes at a crucial time for the health service and doctors want to see the new secretary of state put the NHS on a sustainable footing for the future, address the serious funding shortfall and ensure we can recruit and retain the right number of doctors, with the right support and infrastructure, to deliver high quality care for patients."