Dr Sarah Wollaston re-elected to chair Commons health committee

Former GP Dr Sarah Wollaston MP is set to be re-elected chair of the House of Commons health select committee.

Dr Sarah Wollaston (Photo: JH Lancy)
Dr Sarah Wollaston (Photo: JH Lancy)

The Conservative MP for Totnes, in Devon, was unopposed in the election to the position and will be officially announced as chair by the speaker of the House of Commons next Wednesday.

Dr Wollaston first took over the position from former health secretary Stephen Dorrell in 2014 and was subsequently re-elected to the role after the 2015 general election, beating fellow Tory David Tredinnick.

The MP, who worked as a GP and hospital doctor in Devon for 24 years has said previously the health committee ‘plays an important role in holding to account not only the government but all those who commission and provide these vital services including NHS England and CCGs’.

Londonwide LMCs welcomed the election result, Tweeting that Dr Wollaston had 'consistently asked questions reflecting the concerns of staff on the NHS front line'.

Chair positions for all select committees are divided among the parties based on their strength in the House of Commons, with health a position currently held by the Conservatives. Committee members and chairs are elected by the whole house.

NHS policies criticised

Dr Wollaston has been a critic of aspects of the both the Conservative and previous coalition governments’ health and care policies.

Recently she has spoken out against maintaining the 1% public sector pay cap, warning of the effects it will have of recruitment, retention and morale and knock-on effects on patient safety.

Dr Wollaston has also recently questioned whether government plans to put GPs in every A&E in England were possible given the workforce crisis, and raised similar concerns over plans for seven-day NHS services.

The former GP has also disputed the current government’s NHS funding figures, calling ministers’ claims to have given the NHS an extra £10bn ‘incorrect’.

The MP made a name for herself as independent-minded soon after being elected in 2010 when she opposed parts of the coalition government’s Health and Social Care Act reforms.

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