Javid out, Barclay in…for now, as Johnson government collapses into chaos

johnson government collapses

(Disclaimer, story was accurate as of 15:00 on 06/07/2022. At time of writing, only 26 ministers have resigned. We will try to keep up…)

Steve Barclay, Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster and former Minister of State for Health, has been formally appointed as the new Secretary of State for Health and Social Care following the resignation of Sajid Javid.

In his resignation letter, which was widely circulated on social media, Mr Javid cited the public’s belief that the Conservatives are no longer “acting in the national interest”, and “that this situation will not change” under the current leadership.

With a slew of resignations following the departure of Mr Javid, including the former Chancellor, Rishi Sunak, it is unclear how long the cabinet will retain its new composition, with Labour welcoming Mr Barclay as the “shortest serving Health Secretary in history.”

Mr Barclay, who became an MP in 2010, will be in charge of overseeing the business and policies of the health department, but it remains to be seen how much divergence of policy there will be between the new appointee and his predecessor.

Of particular focus will be the government’s continuing response to Covid and the major reforms currently underway in the health sector, including the recent establishment of integrated care systems in England, as well as plans to tackle the deepening cost of living crisis.

A keen area of focus for Sajid Javid were plans to address the elective care backlog and put patient choice and the personalisation of care at the centre of health policy.

Recent policy announcements from Mr Javid include the proposal to offer private hospitals to people in England waiting over 18 months for surgery, as well as commitments to fund the modernisation of the health and care services.

Commenting on his appointment, Mr Barclay said: “It is an honour to take up the position of Health and Social Care Secretary.

“Our NHS and social care staff have showed us time and again – throughout the pandemic and beyond – what it means to work with compassion and dedication to transform lives.”

“This government is investing more than ever before in our NHS and care services to beat the Covid backlogs, recruit 50,000 more nurses, reform social care and ensure patients across the country can access the care they need.”

Commenting on the resignation of the former Secretary of State for Health. Matthew Taylor, Chief Executive of the NHS Confederation, said: “Health leaders thank Rt Hon Sajid Javid for the support he has shown the NHS during his twelve months in post but colossal challenges remain for his successor to resolve.

“Leaders recognise the work Mr Javid has done to put health inequalities on the map in a way that his predecessors in Government had not.

“The new health and social care secretary will be joining as cost of living pressures grow and as coronavirus and associated hospital admissions are on the up once again. After everything the NHS has been through over the last two years, health leaders need political stability from the Government alongside immediate acknowledgement from their new health and social care secretary that the present situation is understood and with no sugar coating.”

Also responding to Mr Javid’s resignation, Saffron Cordery, Interim Chief Executive of NHS Providers, the membership organisation for the NHS acute, ambulance, community and mental health services, said: “Trust leaders thank Sajid Javid for his service, particularly in seeing through the biggest health reforms in a decade in the shape of the new Health and Social Care Act and his initiation of the Messenger review of leadership in the NHS.

“All eyes will be on how the new health and social care secretary addresses major challenges including serious workforce shortages right across the NHS, the forthcoming NHS pay award amid the cost of living crisis, and the government’s New Hospitals Programme which promises to give the NHS much-needed capital investment to benefit patients and the quality of care.”

On the appointment of Steve Barclay to replace Mr Javid, Ms Cordery responded: “Trust leaders will welcome the rapid appointment of Steve Barclay as the new secretary of state for health and social care.

“Top of his in-tray must be the serious workforce shortages right across the NHS, with over 105,000 vacancies across the service and the forthcoming NHS pay award, which will be made against the backdrop of a soaring cost of living crisis.”