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10.07.18

Matt Hancock to become health secretary following cabinet reshuffle

Number 10 has announced that former digital minister Matt Hancock will become secretary of state for health and social care following Jeremy Hunt’s appointment to foreign secretary.

Jeremy Hunt, who became the longest serving health secretary in May 2016, is to replace Boris Johnson as foreign secretary in Theresa May’s reshuffling of the Cabinet after Johnson’s dramatic resignation yesterday.

One of Hunt’s final successes as health secretary was securing an extra £20bn a year for the NHS pledged by Theresa May last month. Hancock will have a challenging task on his hands to spend the money effectively and efficiently following NHS Provider’s report released yesterday claiming the extra funding will only make up “lost ground” caused by years of austerity.

Hancock became a member of the conservative party in 1999 after earning an MPhil in Economics at the University of Cambridge.

Upon leaving Cambridge, Hancock worked briefly at his family’s computer software company before leaving to pursue a career in London as an economist at the Bank of England.

Hancock was elected as the Member of Parliament for West Suffolk at the 2010 general election. He was appointed digital, culture, media and sport secretary in January 2018.

As culture secretary, from January 2018, Hancock was the first MP to launch his own smartphone app in 2018, in order to better connect with his constituents.

Technology is highly valued by Hancock, who thinks it key to incorporate as part of his politics. It is likely he will bring his technology passion to the role.

The NHS has invested in the technology sector as of late: last week a world-first GP app was introduced to “mark the death knell of the 8am scramble for appointments. Last month experts from the tech industry were invited by Health Education England (HEE) to give evidence to support the Topol Technology Review.

Responding to the appointment of Matt Hancock as secretary of state for health and social care, the deputy chief executive of NHS Providers, Saffron Cordery, said :“Matt Hancock arrives at a crucial time for the NHS with the need to develop a 10 year plan and prioritise how new funding is invested.’’

Cordery added: “This will require difficult decisions in balancing the need to recover lost ground after almost a decade of austerity, transforming the way services are delivered – including the digital revolution - and improving care in key areas such as cancer and mental health.

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Image credit: John Stillwell, PA Images

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