Primary care health minister Earl Howe leaves DH for defence role

Health ministers responsible for primary care and the NHS workforce under the last government have moved on from the DH as prime minister David Cameron completes a ministerial reshuffle.

Earl Howe: Long-term DH role at an end (Photo: JH Lancy)
Earl Howe: Long-term DH role at an end (Photo: JH Lancy)

Conservative hereditary peer Frederick Curzon, 7th Earl Howe, who was responsible for primary care as under secretary of state for quality at the DH from 2010 to 2015, has been moved to defence. The former banker was Tory health spokesman in the Lords from 1997.

Conservative former health minister Dr Dan Poulter has stepped down as a minister. The hospital doctor was responsible for NHS workforce, estates, IT and children's medicine. Dr Poulter told the BBC he wanted to leave his minsterial position so he could continue to work in medicine. He has been replaced by fellow Ipswich MP Ben Gummer.

Earlier, the prime minister reappointed Jeremy Hunt as health secretary. Alistair Burt replaced Liberal Democrat care minister Norman Lamb as minister of state in Mr Cameron’s first all-Conservative government.

Health ministers

Jane Ellison and George Freeman remain in place as junior health ministers.

Earl Howe helped lead former health secretary Andrew Lansley’s Health and Social Care Bill reforms, guiding the legislation through the Lords and was the only health minister to survive the subsequent 2012 reshuffle.

Last year the minister controversially suggested he would consider military-style restrictions on medical training to tie newly-qualified GPs to the NHS and stop them moving abroad.

In 2013 Earl Howe told GPonline the imposed contract, which abolished the MPIG correction factor, was an essential move towards a fairer allocation of resources.

GP premises deal

The minister also led premises negotiations with GP leaders last year which eventually resulted in a £1bn investment pledge.

New junior minister Mr Gummer, the son of former Tory cabinet minister John Gummer, was first elected MP for Ipswich in 2010, and served as a parliamentary private secretary to a Conservative party co-chairman from 2012. He has campaigned against the loss of services at Ipswich Hospital.

Previously, the minister worked for his father’s environmental consultancy and in 2009 published a book on the history of the black death.

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