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Post-election cabinet reshuffle: who is leading health?

Jeremy Hunt has been reappointed as Secretary of State for Health, as Prime Minister David Cameron unveiled his new Cabinet. 

The Conservative Party secured an outright majority at the General Election on May 7, meaning Mr Cameron has now appointed the first all-Tory Cabinet since 1997 when Tony Blair ousted John Major, having previously seen Liberal Democrats hold key positions under the coalition of the previous administration. 

Mr Hunt, who retains the role he took up in September 2012 having previously been the Culture Secretary, said: “I am humbled to be reappointed Health Secretary, not least because of the enormous responsibility for hundreds of thousands of doctors, nurses and other NHS staff who are working incredibly hard right now and under enormous pressure.” 

On his reappointment, he declared his biggest priority was “to transform care outside hospitals - just as we have dramatically improved the quality of care inside hospitals in the last few years.” 

Other key appointments see former Conservative Party deputy chairman Alistair Burt become Minister of State for Health, a position similar in seniority to that previously held by Lib-Dem Norman Lamb who was Minister of State for Care and Support. Mr Lamb, one of only eight Lib-Dem MPs re-elected on May 7, now finds himself in opposition and a candidate for the post of leader in his party. 

As Care Minister, he worked on the Care Act and was known for his support of improving mental health services.
Mr Burt described Mr Lamb on Twitter as a “decent and hard-working compassionate colleague”, and stressed that he is keen to listen to his predecessor and “build upon his work”. 

Having served as Minister of State at the Department of Social Security from 1992 to 1997, Mr Burt was Parliamentary Under Secretary of State at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office from 2010-13 but stepped down over the failure of MPs in August 2013 to support the British government’s plan to participate in military strikes against the Syrian government following chemical weapons attacks. 

Ipswich MP Ben Gummer, the son of former Tory Cabinet Minister John Gummer, moved from Education where he was the private secretary of Education Secretary Nicky Morgan, and becomes Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Health.
He takes on the role from neighbouring Central Suffolk and North Ipswich MP Dr Dan Poulter, who has decided to step down from his Government post and focus more on his medical career and constituency. 

Other Department of Health appointments include: Jane Ellison, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Public Health; Earl Howe, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Quality; and George Freeman is Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Life Sciences, a position he retains after being appointed in 2014 and one that also covers the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills.

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