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Seema Kennedy replaces pharmacy minister Steve Brine

Seema Kennedy took on the public health and primary care brief on April 4
Seema Kennedy took on the public health and primary care brief on April 4

Seema Kennedy has been announced as the new public health and primary care minister, with responsibility for pharmacy, replacing Steve Brine.

Ms Kennedy – who has been MP for South Ribble, Lancashire, since 2015 – was confirmed as the new public health and primary care minister yesterday (April 4).

She has also been parliamentary private secretary to Theresa May since June 2017.

She replaces pharmacy minister Mr Brine, who resigned from the government last week (March 25) to vote against Theresa May over Brexit.

Mr Brine was one of three Conservative MPs to resign – including former pharmacy minister Alistair Burt – to vote against the government's EU withdrawal deal strategy.

In his resignation letter, Mr Brine paid tribute to the “highly competent and professional team at the Department of Health and Social Care (DH), led by our outstanding secretary of state Matt Hancock, who have done everything they can to ensure medicines and medical supplies will be protected for patients whatever form our exit from the EU takes”.

PSNC: Building on the collaborative relationship

Pharmaceutical Services Negotiating Committee chief executive Simon Dukes said: “We look forward to meeting [Ms Kennedy] at the earliest opportunity and to building on the collaborative working relationship we have established with the DH.

“We will ensure that Ms Kennedy is briefed on the value of community pharmacy and we hope to work with her to ensure that the full potential of community pharmacies is realised,” he added.

RPS: Build on Brine's commitment

Royal Pharmaceutical Society English board chair Sandra Gidley said: “We look forward to meeting the new minister and continuing to engage constructively with the government on how pharmacists’ expertise will be central to achieving the ambitions of the NHS long-term plan.

“I hope the minister will build on her predecessor’s commitment to the health and wellbeing of pharmacy staff, as we ask them to play an increased role in supporting the nation’s health.”

The Twitter reaction
What do you make of Ms Kennedy's appointment?

Anonymous Anonymous, Information Technology

I think you'll find that she is actually the Primary Care Minister, which I agree does encompass pharmacy but the headlines of this and the other article about her are misleading! She will be another self-serving, paternalistic-doctor-appeasing MP as usual! Pharmacy is now an embarrassment of a profession and I for one am now thankful that I have gotten out!

Tony Schofield, Community pharmacist

Be positive until facts demonstrate otherwise 

Benie I, Locum pharmacist

She will continue the fantastic groundbreaking work of her predecessor. I'm certain of it.

Adam Hall, Community pharmacist

Another empty vessel going to make lots of positive-sounding comments about how we have "so much to contribute" and are an "under-utilised tool" while they cut our funding? You tell me. Wouldn't take a bet against it, though

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