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Matt Hancock appointed health secretary in cabinet reshuffle

Mr Hancock must address funding shortfall, says BMA

Jo Carlowe

Tuesday, 10 July 2018

Matt Hancock, MP for West Suffolk, has been appointed secretary of state for health and social care, following a cabinet reshuffle instigated by the resignation of foreign secretary Boris Johnson.

Jeremy Hunt, who has been health secretary for the past six years, the longest serving health secretary, was given the foreign secretary job, and Matt Hancock, formerly secretary for state for digital, culture, media and sport, (DCMS) was named his successor.

Mr Hancock was elected in the 2010 general election. He served as a backbencher on the Public Accounts Committee and the Standards & Privileges Committee, and in September 2012 served in a number of ministerial roles, including for skills and business, and as paymaster general. He oversaw the expansion of apprenticeships, and championed the digital transformation of government.

From July 2016 he served at DCMS as minister of state for digital and was responsible for broadband, broadcasting, creative industries, cyber and the tech industry.

Prior to entering politics, Mr Hancock worked as an economist at the Bank of England, and as chief of staff to the shadow chancellor of the exchequer. He holds degrees from Oxford and Cambridge Universities. He is married with three children.

“Really looking forward to joining the Department of Health and Social Care at such an important time for our great NHS. I can’t wait to get started,” he tweeted on hearing of his appointment yesterday.

Dr Chaand Nagpaul, British Medical Association council chair congratulated Mr Hancock on his appointment and said the BMA was looking forward to working “constructively with him” on the development of health policies to ensure safe, high quality patient care.

However, he added: “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."

Image courtesy of UK Parliament, CC BY 3.0

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