The British Medical Association, Royal College of Nursing and Royal College of Midwives have all welcomed the appointment of Andrew Lansley as the new health secretary.

Commenting on his appointment, the three organisations stressed the importance of working with them to protect frontline services and patient care.

Dr Peter Carter, chief executive and general secretary of the RCN, said the organisation had enjoyed a good working relationship with Mr Lansley in his previous role.

Dr Carter added: “We look forward to building on this during his time in office and urge Andrew to listen carefully to the concerns of nurses, who can provide the frontline perspective needed to improve the experience of every patient.
“The RCN has always said we will speak up when we disagree with the government and be vocal in our support when they get things right. We look forward to a mature working relationship that puts the care and wellbeing of patients at the forefront.”

BMA chairman Dr Hamish Meldrum said: “The formation of a new government is an opportunity to continue the spirit of co-operation and pragmatism, exemplified by their coalition agreement, which will be needed in the tight financial climate we face in the health service.

“There are extremely difficult decisions ahead and more than ever, we need a period of stability and a working environment that encourages partnership and co-operation. There is intense pressure to make savings, but cutting clinical staff or frontline services would be not only short-sighted, but could also cause irreparable damage to the NHS. Doctors will want to play a central role in shaping the delivery of healthcare and we would encourage the new government to work with us to ensure that this can happen.”

Deputy general secretary of the RCM Louise Silverton said: “I congratulate Andrew Lansley on assuming this post. He is taking up this role at a challenging time for the NHS.”