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What is the new pharmacy minister's voting record on health?

Steve Brine voted for the pharmacy funding cuts last year
Steve Brine voted for the pharmacy funding cuts last year

New pharmacy minister Steve Brine is in favour of giving GPs more commissioning powers, his voting record has suggested.

According to theyworkforyou.com, Mr Brine – who was announced as minister with responsibility for pharmacy last week (June 22) – has consistently voted for reforming the NHS so GPs can commission services on behalf of their patients.

On four occasions since 2011, Mr Brine voted to support NHS reforms proposed in the Health and Social Care Bill, including giving more power to "consortia" of GPs to commission health services, strengthening regulator the Care Quality Commission, and abolishing primary care trusts, his voting record shows.

The MP for Winchester and Chandler’s Ford has also voted against restricting the provision of services to private patients by the NHS. He voted against allowing terminally ill people to be given assistance to end their life, and voted in favour of smoking bans.

Mr Brine was among the 305 MPs who voted in favour of the pharmacy cuts after a parliamentary debate in November 2016. Only one Conservative MP voted against the cuts.

DH's "big ambitions"

Following his appointment to the Department of Health (DH) on June 14, Mr Brine said in a statement that health has "always been a great interest for me, both locally and in terms of national policy".

“I am really looking forward to working as part of the team at [DH headquarters] Richmond House to ensure we build a health and social care system that is among the safest and highest-quality anywhere in the world,” Mr Brine added.

The DH team have “big ambitions” around mental health provision and securing greater access to GPs, he stressed.

“This new role is a tremendous opportunity to work in an area I am passionate about and to ensure the voice of Winchester and Chandler's Ford is heard at the heart of government,” he said.

In response to his appointment, the Pharmaceutical Services Negotiating Committee said it would “write to welcome the minister to his new role”.

“We look forward to meeting him at the earliest opportunity to discuss how we can work together to deliver the government’s aim to develop a stronger clinical role for community pharmacy, and address the damage and threats we have faced in the last year,” the negotiator added.

Other ministerial moves

Alongside Mr Brine, Jackie Doyle-Price MP was appointed as another parliamentary under-secretary of state at the DH this month.

MP for Thurrock since 2010, Ms Doyle-Price served as assistant whip to the treasury since May 2015, until her appointment to the DH. She has also sat on the Public Accounts Committee, which scrutinises spending and holds the government to account for the delivery of public services.

In 2014, she was appointed chair of the all-party parliamentary group for Gurkha welfare.

Philip Dunne, MP for Ludlow, and Lord O'Shaughnessy, remain as ministers at the DH.

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