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New minister joins Department of Health

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A former Downing Street aide and policy director to David Cameron has been appointed as a minister at the Department of Health.

Number 10 said yesterday that Lord O’Shaughnessy had been made parliamentary undersecretary of state to the DH as well as a government whip, LGC’s sister title Health Service Journal reports.

He is a former Downing Street aide, and was director of policy for Mr Cameron from May 2010 to October 2011.

He will replace Lord Prior, who has overseen drugs spending, life sciences, NHS commercial issues, and blood and transplant since July after Theresa May reappointed Jeremy Hunt as health secretary.

Lord Prior was originally made a parliamentary undersecretary of state in 2015 after the general election.

Lord Prior, who is a former chair of the Care Quality and Commission and Norfolk and Norwich University Hospitals Foundation Trust, has become parliamentary undersecretary of state at the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy.

Writing on hsj.co.uk in September, Lord Prior said a system dedicated to continuous improvement and learning towards patient wellbeing and safety was key to a sustainable NHS.

He stressed the NHS should not be “immune” from fundamental change, and while the connection between health and social care and achieving parity between physical and mental health, had been recognised, more needed to be done.

Lord Prior said last year the creation of NHS Improvement was a “fundamental change” from Monitor’s role as a financial regulator.

He also spoke about the “hugely limited” role of the market in healthcare in his previous role as CQC chair.

In addition, Lord Prior has said new models of care can be achieved without structural “reorganisation”.

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