Sajid Javid replaces Matt Hancock as UK health secretary

Sajid Javid has been appointed as UK secretary of state for health social care, following the resignation of Matt Hancock.

Hancock resigned on Saturday (26 June), after office camera footage emerged showing him kissing aide Gina Coladangelo in breach of COVID rules.

He was also criticised for using a personal email account to conduct government business when a leaked Department of Health Social Care (DOHSC) report revealed he had been using his Gmail account since the start of the UK lockdown in March 2020.

The Labour party has raised concerns that using personal email is a privacy risk allows information to be concealed, hindering scrutiny of ministerial decisions. 

In a resignation letter to prime minister Boris Johnson, Hancock apologised for breaking COVID guidance.

“The reforms we have started in the health system will ensure it continues to provide even better care for people in years to come. We are building a better NHS which makes smarter use of technology data, forming a new UK Health Security Agency, delivering positive changes to mental health care will fix the problems of social care once for all,” he wrote. 

WHY IT MATTERS 

Hancock was a strong advocate for overhauling the use of technology in the NHS championed the launch of the unit for digital, data health technology, NHSX in 2019. 

During his time as health secretary, Hancock also brought together a Healthtech Advisory Board to ban the use of fax machines pagers in the NHS for non-emergency communications commissioned a review into the safe efficient use of data for research analysis in the healthcare sector. 

THE LARGER CONTEXT 

Hancock previously faced controversy when was judged to have committed a “minor technical breach” of ministerial code for initially failing to declare his stake in an NHS supplier.

Javid’s appointment as health secretary comes at a time when the health service is under enormous pressure recovering from the pandemic, rolling out the COVID vaccination programme facing NHS reform. The government is due to publish its health care bill later in 2021.

Earlier this year, Hancock launched the implementation plan for the genomic healthcare system announced the government would invest £37 million into data-driven initiatives to bolster the life sciences sector.

ON THE RECORD 

Javid said: “I’m incredibly honoured to take up the post of health social care secretary, particularly during such an important moment in our recovery from COVID-19. This position comes with a huge responsibility, I will do everything I can to deliver for the people of this great country.

“Thanks to the fantastic efforts of our NHS social care staff who work tirelessly every day, our phenomenal vaccination programme, we have made enormous progress in the battle against this dreadful disease. I want our country to get out of this pandemic that will be my most immediate priority.”



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