Steve Brine was a strong supporter of vaping and tobacco harm reduction, frequently combatting anti-vape nonsense in the House of Commons with facts and evidence. Losing him was a potential blow as he promoted the aims of Public Health England in promoting vaping in the workplace, NHS facilities and as part of smoking cessation programs.
Following the cabinet reshuffle, Seema Kennedy’s ministerial brief now includes responsibility for primary care, the public health system, and prevention and early intervention. She will also be the Ministerial lead for Public Health England, the Food Standards Agency and NHS Resolution.
The appointment was welcomed by the Chief Executive of the Pharmaceutical Services Negotiating Committee, 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.”
Kennedy has previously claimed: “I believe fully in the NHS and its values.” She holds an interest in a real estate developer, Tustin Developments Ltd, has supported local women’s health campaigns and is an advocate of Dementia Friends.
In the past, she has voted to maintain secrecy over the Sustainability & Transformation Plans (STP). The government claims STPs will deliver financial stability to the NHS through the privatisation of services. In 2013 there were 140 full Accident and Emergency hospital departments in England. It is envisaged that when the STP is complete there will be up to 70 remaining.
Another indicator of her commitment to the NHS can be found in her local paper. Constituent Dorothy Kazer told readers of The Lancashire Post: “Why do we see Seema Kennedy so rarely: Answer; she is building up her career. Why, when she has been promoted to Under Secretary of State at the Department of Health has she never been to support those fighting to save the Accident and Emergency department at Chorley and South Ribble Hospital? She has never once been.”
Kennedy managed to offend many people by winning a bet with Simon Hoare MP, when she managed to get Theresa May to say the word “Simples” during a Commons speech about Brexit. Twitter user Sandra Pickering called the behaviour “disgusting” when Kennedy won a high tea at the Ritz hotel for her sterling work.
- They Work For You - https://www.theyworkforyou.com/mp/25389/seema_kennedy/south_ribble
- Simples comment - https://www.indy100.com/article/theresa-may-simples-meerkat-commons-tea-ritz-8805441