The Department of Health Ministers
The complete list of Department of Health (DH) Ministers has been confirmed as follows:
- The Rt Hon Jeremy Hunt MP, Secretary of State
- Philip Dunne MP, Minister of State
- Lord O’Shaughnessy, Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State
- Steve Brine MP, Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State
- Jackie Doyle-Price MP, Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State
The list of responsibilities has yet to be issued and this can take a little while. However, it is most likely that the first three Ministers will have their old responsibilities confirmed, with some minor amendments. The following sets out a breakdown of how the responsibilities are likely to be shared:
Jeremy Hunt will stay in charge of all areas of health policy with a particular focus on overall financial control and oversight of all NHS delivery and performance. He is likely to lead on all aspects of mental health.
Philip Dunne will oversee all aspects of hospital care, NHS performance and operations, the workforce, patient safety and maternity care.
Lord O’Shaughnessy will cover all aspects of health in the House of Lords, but his brief will include leading on drugs spending, life sciences and NICE. His other responsibilities may be varied, but currently include EU and NHS commercial issues, and blood and transplants. He will therefore be a key figure for the health biotechnology and pharmaceutical industry.
Steve Brine was formerly Parliamentary Private Secretary to Jeremy Hunt, so his appointment makes sense. He was briefly a Whip and his colleagues speak well of him. Given his interest in preventive health care, particularly in HIV, it may be that he will be given the public health brief.
Jackie Doyle-Price also comes from the Whips office and is also well regarded. If Steve Brine is given public health responsibilities, she will be given community care, a very difficult area following the aftermath of the unpopular Manifesto proposals for care of the elderly.
Jo Johnson MP retains his science and research responsibilities as a Minister for State at the Departments for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy as well as the Department for Education, so he will continue to work closely with the Office for Life Sciences and Lord O’Shaughnessy.