Matt Hancock to replace Jeremy Hunt as health secretary
Culture secretary Matt Hancock will replace Jeremy Hunt as health secretary, the government announced last night (July 9).
Mr Hunt is leaving the Department of Health and Social Care (DH) to become foreign secretary, replacing Boris Johnson, who resigned this afternoon in protest at the government's approach to Brexit.
West Suffolk MP Mr Hancock was appointed secretary of state for digital, culture, media and sport in January, having served as minister of state for digital since 2016.
Really looking forward to joining @DHSCgovuk at such an important time for our great NHS. I can’t wait to get started— Matt Hancock (@MattHancock) 9 July 2018
According to his government website, before entering politics Mr Hancock "worked for his family business, as an economist at the Bank of England, and as chief of staff to the shadow chancellor of the exchequer".
Last month, Mr Hunt became the longest-serving health minister in UK history.
Massive wrench for me to leave health - I know some staff haven’t found me the easiest Health Sec but the NHS, and particularly patient safety, has become my passion & it really was the greatest privilege of my life to serve for so many years— Jeremy Hunt (@Jeremy_Hunt) July 9, 2018
Couldn’t ask for a better successor than @matthancock to take forward long term NHS plan with his brilliant understanding of the power of technology. The new NHS app will be in safe hands!— Jeremy Hunt (@Jeremy_Hunt) July 9, 2018
Responding to the news, Royal Pharmaceutical Society English board chair Sandra Gidley told C+D she “wishes Matthew Hancock the best of luck in his new and challenging role”.
“He has a steep learning curve and I will be writing to him, wishing him luck and offering him help in getting up to speed with what the third largest health profession can deliver for patients.”
The Pharmaceutical Services Negotiating Committee said it “congratulates” Mr Hancock on his new role and “looks forward to working with him to develop community pharmacy services for the benefit of patients, the NHS and pharmacies”.
“He inherited a tangled mess”
Reflecting on Mr Hunt’s time at the DH, NHS Confederation chief executive Niall Dickson said: “He inherited a tangled mess of a reorganisation from his predecessor and he had to live with a succession of austere funding settlements which were never going to meet rising demand.
“Given so little to play with, Hunt deserves credit for helping to keep the show on the road, but the health service – better in many ways – has also slipped back when it comes to meeting many of its core standards.
“His successor has one overwhelming challenge – how to help the NHS and the social care system to become sustainable in the face of rising demand and a severe workforce crisis.”