This site is intended for health professionals only

New Health Secretary announced

Gordon Brown has ushered in a new era for the country under his leadership after appointing Alan Johnson as Health Secretary.

The former Education Secretary's move to the challenging health brief had been widely anticipated by Westminster watchers.

The Royal College of Nursing (RCN) said heading the Department of Health is "one of the most important jobs in the UK".

RCN general secretary Dr Peter Carter urged Mr Johnson to "talk to us and work with us to rebuild trust with NHS staff".

He added one way is to pay nurses their 2.5% pay award in full, instead of in stages as proposed by the government.

"The RCN has always said we will speak up when we disagree with the government and be vocal in our support when they get things right.

"We look forward to a mature working relationship that will be to the benefit of patients first and foremost," he said.

The UK's largest health union, Unison, also welcomed Mr Johnson and said the former postman is "someone we can do business with".

In a letter to the Hull West and Hessle MP, the union outlined a "prescription of treatments" to inject a fresh, uplifting approach to UK health services and reverse "sliding morale" among NHS staff and patients.

His appointment comes after former Health Secretary Patricia Hewitt said she was resigning to give more time to her constituency and family.

Alan Johnson

Department of Health

Copyright © PA Business 2007