Health Secretary Bids to Replace Theresa May

Peter Russell

May 28, 2019

Editor's note 14th June 2019 - Matt Hancock withdrew from the process to become Conservative leader following the first round of voting.

 

Creating a world-class NHS has formed part of the pitch put forward by Matt Hancock in his bid to become the next Conservative leader.

The Secretary of State for Health and Social Care has joined an increasingly crowded group of competitors jockeying to be the next Prime Minister. Despite at 40 being the youngest member of the Cabinet, he could be a reasonable punt as he was the first MP in modern times to win a horse race – romping to victory in the Blue Square Cavalry Charge charity race at Newmarket 7 years ago.

The MP for West Suffolk was handed the health post in July 2018 after only a few months as culture secretary when Jeremy Hunt was promoted to foreign secretary.

Results from last week's elections to the European Parliament have made it much more likely that Brexit will be overwhelmingly the central focus of the Conservative leadership contest.

Mr Hancock backed remain in the 2016 referendum but was a supporter from within the Caninet of Theresa May's negotiated settlement to leave the EU. In an article in the Daily Mail , he said the haemorrhaging of Conservative votes in the election made delivering Brexit "mission critical" for the party, which would also have to win over those supporters who backed remaining in the EU.

In the same article he also wrote of the need to "deliver high quality public services", which included a "world-class NHS".

Some commentators have suggested that a Conservative party led by Mr Hancock could appeal to younger voters.

As health secretary, Mr Hancock was heavily involved in preparations for a no-deal Brexit scenario to ensure continuity of supply for medicines as well as addressing NHS staffing problems.

Over the past year he has proved a vigorous supporter of a technology-driven health service.

Future of Social Care Yet to Be Resolved

Outgoing Prime Minister Theresa May deserves credit for delivering a long-term funding settlement for the health service, according to the NHS Confederation. However, in a post-resignation report card, the organisation criticised her government for failing to deliver on reform of the social care system.

Niall Dickson, its chief executive, said Mrs May "entered Number 10 pledging to fight injustice and failed to tackle one of the country's biggest injustices", with "thousands of the most vulnerable in our communities … being left without the care and support they need", while "millions of family carers are exhausted and at the end of their tether".

He added: "This is the greatest social challenge of our time – the next Prime Minister cannot duck this tragedy in our midst and should be judged on what they do to tackle the immediate crisis and to develop a long-term solution."

Euro Poll Issues

Pro-Brexit doctor David Bull has become a Member of the European Parliament (MEP) after contesting the North West of England constituency for the Brexit Party.

Dr Bull, seen celebrating the party's success at the weekend alongside its leader, Nigel Farage, has worked in general and emergency medicine alongside a career in the media.

Earlier this month, he told Medscape UK that he became a passionate supporter of the case for leave when, ironically, he was asked by the then health secretary Jeremy Hunt to write an assessment of why the country would be better off staying in the EU from a medical perspective.

The British Dental Association (BDA) outlined succession plans after Henrik Overgaard-Nielsen, chair of its General Dental Practice Committee, was elected to the European Parliament.

The Danish-born NHS dentist was elected as a Brexit Party MEP for the same party and constituency.

Martin Woodrow, the BDA's acting chief executive, said: "The British Dental Association is free of any party-political allegiance, and sets its policies in the best interests of the profession it serves.

"We have clear guidelines for staff and officers engaging in political activity, including elected members seeking political office. These processes ensure our senior team and representative bodies are able to evaluate and manage any role conflicts when and if they emerge."

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