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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.

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.

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.”


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