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Seema Kennedy appointed pharmacy minister in Brexit-related reshuffle

By Costanza Pearce

05 Apr 2019

The Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) has announced Seema Kennedy MP as the new pharmacy minister.

Ms Kennedy, conservative MP for South Ribble and Theresa May’s parliamentary private secretary, was named as the new public health and primary care minister last night (4 April).

She replaces Steve Brine, who resigned from his post last week (25 March) over worries that the way the Government is handling Brexit could lead to a no-deal scenario.

In a letter to the Prime Minister posted on his website, Mr Brine – who had served as public health minister since June 2017 – said he felt compelled to do ‘the honourable thing’ and step down so he could vote against the Government.

Ms Kennedy, who grew up in Lancashire’s Ribble Valley, was elected as MP for South Ribble in May 2015.

Before entering politics, she worked as a solicitor in the City and for her family business, which owns commercial properties in the North West.

In 2017, Ms Kennedy became the first female parliamentary private secretary to a conservative Prime Minister.

Ms Kennedy set up a cross-party Loneliness Commission with Jo Cox MP in 2015. Following Ms Cox’s murder in 2016, this became the Jo Cox Commission on Loneliness, led by Ms Kennedy and her new co-chair Rachel Reeves MP.

Aside from her formal public service, Ms Kennedy has been an active member in her local community, including volunteering in law centres and serving as a charity trustee.

Health and social care secretary Matt Hancock welcomed Ms Kennedy’s appointment.

Chief executive of the Pharmaceutical Services Negotiating Committee (PSNC) Simon Dukes said:

‘PSNC would like to congratulate the new minister on her role; we look forward to meeting her at the earliest opportunity and to building on the collaborative working relationship we have established with the Department.

‘We will ensure that Ms Kennedy is briefed on the value of community pharmacy and we hope to work with her to ensure that the full potential of community pharmacies is realised.’

Ms Kennedy’s new role will include responsibility for prevention and early intervention, sexual health and major diseases as well as primary care. She will also be the ministerial lead for Public Health England (PHE).

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