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New Health Secretary appointed

Andrew Lansley CBE was appointed yesterday as Secretary of State for Health. Mr Lansley is the MP for South Cambridgeshire and previously served as the Shadow Health Secretary - a position he held from 2003.

Mr Lansley said: "It is an immense privilege to be appointed Secretary of State for Health in the new government.

"Just as Britain needs strong and stable government, so we intend to bring to the NHS the consistent, stable reform, which enables it to deliver improving quality of care to patients.

"I have met many people working in the NHS and social care; I know they want to focus on patients and to be accountable for the results they achieve.

"I am determined that we will have an NHS in which the patient shares in making decisions; where quality standards are evidence-based and form the basis of the design of services and their management; and where the objective is consistent improvement in the outcomes we achieve, so that they are amongst the best in the world.

"If we are to succeed in improving the health service, we must also improve the public health of the nation. We must promote good health, stronger locally-owned public health strategies and effective screening and prevention of disease.

"We will create a more integrated public health service at the heart of healthcare policy. To improve health and well-being, we must offer support, security and services to those in need of personal and social care.

"There is much to do. If I have learnt one thing over six-and-a-half years as Shadow Health Secretary, it is that in the NHS we have an immense number of talented, committed and capable people, who want to be trusted to get on with the job. It will be my task to enable the NHS to do this; with our shared ambition to achieve the best healthcare service anywhere in the world."

The new Ministerial team at the Department of Health will be announced shortly.

Mr Lansley was educated at Brentwood School, Essex and the University of Exeter, where he was President of the Guild for Students. He began his own career as a civil servant, working at the Department of Trade & Industry.

In 1992 Mr Lansley was awarded a CBE for running the Conservative campaign for the 1992 General Election. In 1997 he was elected MP for South Cambridgeshire, and joined the Shadow Cabinet as Health Secretary in 2003.

Your comments (terms and conditions apply):

"I am pleased with the outcome of the election, I voted Lib-Dems ... I have worked in the NHS for 40 years and find it so sad to see the abuse it takes, eg, immigrants demanding medication and treatment which is too expensive from the country they come from!" - Name and address supplied

"I have my reservations due to his links with CareUK! How can he remain impartial with proposed new contracts within the Primary Care Setting?" - Liz Parker, Lincolnshire

"What is he going to do about practice nurses working in isolation at the mercy of greedy, selfish GPs? They are not paying us the proposed 3 year deal 2008/2009. I have been informed that I will only be getting 0.8% increment this year!! This is a disgraceful and most unfair treatment of practice nurses. Is Mr Lansley going to put in place a procedure or clause whereby the GPs give us the increments that we are entitled to!! We need a supporting body or voice that we can go to, to stop the GPs from lining their own pockets at our expense!" - sridevy, London

"In response to Karen Dickson's comment about the NHS computer system. It sounds as if she would like us to go back to the dark ages with reams of paper documentation. The eHealth strategy is extremely progressive and is a necessary part of future quality improvement targets and facilitates the provision of seamless care for patients. There is much room for improvement to some of the IT systems which require to be 'fit for purpose' but with the proper expertise and investment this could be improved. Technology is not a bad thing and we are in an era of technology so why is she so down on the NHS improving service provision by means of technological resources as well as human resources? In relation to the appointment I don't have a strong opinion. I have been disillusioned with the political system overall and the way front line staff are being targeted within the NHS when cuts in service are being implemented. I am not a Tory voter and await with trepidation their policies on NHS reform" - Marion Findlay, Lanarkshire

"All lip service so far. We have heard this all before, but let's face it, there is little to go around and will be even less next year. I would like to see some charging for overseas visitors, especially those in the EEU that many of us know use our services for free. In our local WIC/OOH we have many East Europeans and Portuguese especially, who conveniently visit relatives in the UK when they need treatment, or to have a baby, knowing that they will be treated 'free at the point of need' following initial consultations in their own country. Also to cut down on this 'hypochondriacs charter' that gives the impression that anyone can have anything at any time of day or night however trivial through our hard pressed out of hours and walk in services. There has to be some public responsibility if services are going to be cut to the quick - and they will be. I have worked through Tory governments before and they always cut services to those who can least afford them, whilst the rich can swan off to their private hospitals, sustained by the good old NHS when anything acute befalls them. This will be at the expense of others waiting patiently on lists who do not have the resources to go private. Waiting lists will rise, and social care and less glamorous groups will suffer" - Name and address supplied

"Great, sounds a pretty good choice and have always had a lot of time for Mr Lansley as an MP (an Essex lad so probably pretty sensible and grounded!) However, I really disagree with ringfencing all NHS spending. Ringfence frontline services but for heaven's sake CUT the waste in the NHS. There appears to be a lot of it, ie, the NHS computer system which seems woeful waste and is for what purpose exactly? And obviously is siphoning money away from patient care - tail wagging the dog perhaps? I voted Conservative and so am pretty pleased with the election outcome" - Karen Dickson, Essex