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UPDATED: Neil O’Brien quits as pharmacy minister to ‘focus 100%’ on constituency

Mr O’Brien has resigned as minister responsible for primary care after one year in the role.

Pharmacy minister Neil O’Brien has resigned from his post, he announced today (November 13).

In a tweet published this morning, Mr O’Brien said that he wished to “focus 100%” on his constituency and to “see more” of his two children.

Mr O’Brien’s tweet was accompanied by a picture of a sheep constructed out of cotton wool and paper.

Read more: ‘Enormous pressures’: MPs flag pharmacy funding, workforce and drug supply woes

He praised the ministerial team, special advisors and “some” officials.

But he said that he had requested a return to the back benches because he had “so much going on locally”.

Read more: DH appoints Neil O’Brien as new pharmacy minister

Mr O’Brien is Conservative member of parliament for the Midlands constituency of Harborough, first elected in June 2017.

He was appointed in November last year, taking over as the junior health minister with responsibility for primary care from Will Quince – who moved to a role as health minister responsible for secondary care.

It remains unclear who will take on the pharmacy brief as his successor.


Musical chairs


Mr Quince also this morning announced that he has submitted his letter of resignation to Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, saying that he would be standing down as an MP at the next general election.

C+D reported in September 2022 that Mr Quince had been appointed as pharmacy minister, replacing James Morris.

Read more: Government ‘finalising’ hub-and-spoke consultation response

Mr Morris was appointed as pharmacy minister in July 2022, replacing Maria Caulfield.

Ms Caulfield was appointed as pharmacy minister in September 2021, replacing Maggie Throup, who had been appointed days earlier that same month as a replacement for Jo Churchill.

Ms Churchill lasted two years as pharmacy minister and was first appointed in August 2019, taking over from Seema Kennedy.

Read more: 'Pharmacy wastelands’: Over 200 net closures in 2023 so far, DH admits

Ms Kennedy was appointed as pharmacy minister in April 2019, as a replacement for Steve Brine, the current chair of the health and social care committee (HSCC).

Mr Brine resigned from the post in March 2019 in order to vote against the government’s EU withdrawal strategy.


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