Steve Barclay has been appointed the new Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, less than two months after leaving the role.
The former chief of staff at 10 Downing Street was first appointed health secretary on July 5 by the then Prime Minister Boris Johnson, but was replaced on September 7 by Thérèse Coffey.
Following a cabinet reshuffle by Liz Truss, who assumed office after winning the Conservative Party leadership election which took place after Boris Johnson resigned, Barclay’s first stint in the Department of Health ended after two months.
But another resignation just weeks later by Liz Truss paved the way for Rishi Sunak to become the first British Asian Prime Minister. As part of his newly elected cabinet, he opted to bring back Barclay, MP for North East Cambridgeshire, as health secretary following his short spell in the summer.
Delighted to return to @DHSCgovuk as Secretary of State. Looking forward to working with colleagues across health and social care. pic.twitter.com/jIp6LVDrZY
— Steve Barclay (@SteveBarclay) October 25, 2022
In what proved to be his final address before being replaced as Secretary of State for Health and Social Care at the beginning of September, Barclay set out the government’s priorities over the winter in a speech titled ‘NHS – Preparing for winter and beyond’.
He stressed that “scaling innovation so we adopt the opportunities of tech in a way Covid showed could be done” is a key priority this winter.
He also said his number one priority is cutting ambulance waiting times and confirmed that a “new focus on operational performance underpinned by data” and “targeted work over the summer” was being used to deal with issues in a small number of trusts that NHS data shows account for almost half of ambulance handover delays.