The United Kingdom has woken up to a shock hung parliament result which has cut the Conservative party of its parliamentary majority. While the political bun fight is still on-going, Theresa May seeks to run a minority government with support from the Democratic Unionist Party. But what does this all mean for NHS health IT?

It’s still early days but we know that several high profile health ministers have lost their seats.

Nicola Blackwood, parliamentary under-secretary of State for Public Health and Innovation, lost her Oxford West and Abingdon seat to Liberal Democrat Layla Moran by 816 votes.

David Mowat, pharmacy minister, was knocked out of his Warrington South seat by Labour’s Faisal Rashid, who won with a majority of 2,549.

However, despite being widely vilified in the press for his role in the junior doctors’ strike, Jeremy Hunt retained his Surrey South West seat with a comfortable 55.7% of the votes. In second place was Louise Irvine of the National Health Action party, who won 20% of the vote.

At time of writing, it’s still uncertain if Hunt will be kept on as health secretary.

However, one MP that was touted to be his replacement is out of the running. Former health minister, Ben Gummer, who was rumoured to be the next health secretary in the reshuffle, lost his seat in Ipswich to Labour’s Sandy Martin by 813 votes.

All this uncertainty does not bode well for NHS England’s flagship global digital exemplar (GDE) programme. The 16 acute GDE trusts that were due to receive a share of a £100 million funding pot last November, but are still waiting on the funds to advance their digital plans.

While confusion is the order of the day, at least the end of campaigning signals the end of purdah, so prepare for a deluge of reports, comment and initiatives that have been held back over the surprise election call.

Mike Thompson, chief executive of the Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry, said on the General election: “This political uncertainty is as damaging for the pharmaceutical industry as it is for other businesses”.

“Having triggered Article 50, there are crucially important decisions that the UK Government and the European Union need to resolve within timelines that were already very challenging.”

“We need politicians in the UK and across Europe to be pragmatic, and ensure that they put the interests of patients and public health first. In all scenarios, we will need continued cooperation with Europe on all aspects of medicines regulation.”

The Patients Association said in a statement that result will not make the potential NHS funding crisis and challenges of Brexit disappear.

“Without a change in direction by the Government, there is now no prospect of us avoiding a major crisis in the NHS, on top of the existing one in social care.”

“This crisis will not hold off while Westminster politics sorts itself out into a more workable shape or adapts to the new political landscape – it will come whether our politicians are ready for it or not.”

This is a developing story. 

How Twitter saw the General Election: 

Nicola Blackwood

Ben Gummer

Jeremy Hunt


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