In Shakeup, UK Health Secretary Andrew Lansley Ousted

Posted 04 September 2012 | By

UK National Health Secretary Andrew Lansley has been forced out of his position by Prime Minister David Cameron in the first major shakeup of the National Health Service (NHS) since Cameron took office in 2010, report numerous media outlets.

In his stead will be new Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt, who was previously Secretary of Culture, Media and Sport. UK media outlets were quick to paint the decision as a controversial one, pointing out that Hunt was fighting to keep his job several months ago in the wake of a scandal involving dealings with media mogul Rupert Murdoch and allegedly preferential treatment of Murdoch's attempt to purchase media network BSkyB in the wake of a phone hacking scandal.

Hunt's reputation may have been greatly bolstered by the success of the Olympic Games, which were hosted this summer in London, England and were overseen primarily by Hunt, giving Cameron political cover.

A Strong Communicator

Other media outlets pointed to Hunt as being a strong communicator-an asset for an agency that has put into motion numerous reforms of its healthcare system while finding it difficult to promote those same changes to a skeptical public.

"More importantly, No. 10 [Downing Street] see the personable, cheery Mr. Hunt as a top-notch communicator, someone who will be able to explain the complex work Mr. Lansley put in place and then struggled to sell," wrote James Kirkup, deputy political editor for The Daily Telegraph. "That strikes me a fair bet: Mr. Hunt is the sort of humane, sympathetic figure who might just be able to heal some of the wounds inflicted on the Conservatives over health."

NHS Reforms to go on as Planned

With the exception of the message, the NHS reforms will go on as planned, said Home Secretary Theresa May. "Jeremy Hunt will inherit those reforms and take those forward," said May. "The policies will be the same, the reforms will still be in place."

The reforms are set to include more private-sector competition for services, more consolidation of services, cost cuts for services and giving GP's more control over the NHS budget, reports The Guardian.

Lansley now moves back to the House of Commons, where he will assume the role of leader of the house-a vastly reduced role for the former secretary.


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