Responding to the appointment of Sajid Javid as the new Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, Matthew Taylor, chief executive of the NHS Confederation, said:
“Health leaders will be pleased the Prime Minister has wasted no time in appointing a new Secretary of State as the NHS continues to fight the many challenges of a global pandemic. Also, they will be encouraged that the role has gone to someone who, as a former Chancellor, should know the Treasury inside out. It is imperative that Sajid Javid uses these connections to ensure the NHS gets the investment it desperately needs, alongside delivering long-term reform for social care.
“With COVID-19 cases on the rise again, more than five million people waiting for elective treatment, primary, ambulance, community and mental health care services seeing increased and more complex demand, and staff on the verge of burnout, we will need a Secretary of State who can adeptly lead and support the NHS’s recovery.
“Also, with new legislation for health and care on its way, Mr Javid will need to ensure momentum is not lost, particularly given that this legislation may see his role take on greater responsibility over the NHS, alongside working with a new chief executive of NHS England.
“We are ready to engage Mr Javid on these priorities and we look forward to working with him.
“On behalf of our members, we would like to offer our thanks to Matt Hancock for his three years as health secretary.
“In this time, he has played a central role in leading much of the government’s response to the pandemic, including the stellar rollout of COVID-19 vaccination programme. In addition, he has facilitated the health service’s journey toward delivering more integrated and joined-up care, overseen the launches of both the NHS Long Term Plan and the NHS People Plan, and raised the profile of the tech agenda.
“Leaders will appreciate Mr Hancock’s apology and recognition of how his actions may have undermined public confidence in – and adherence to – COVID-19 restrictions at a time when cases are rising. We have come so far and cannot afford for the Government undermining its own public health messaging.”