The new shadow health secretary is John Healey, former housing minister and member of Gordon Brown’s cabinet.

Mr Healey will take over the shadow health role from Andy Burnham, who has been given the education and election coordinator brief.

Cabinet ministers voted in by MPs yesterday evening had to wait until today to hear which roles Labour leader Ed Miliband had chosen for them.

Mr Healey, former minister for housing and planning, has also served as financial secretary to the Treasury, parliamentary under secretary of state for adults’ skills and parliamentary private secretary to the chancellor of the exchequer.

He has voluntary sector experience, having previous worked with the Royal National Institute for the Deaf, the Royal Association for Disability and Rehabilitation and MIND.

He worked in communications from 1990 to 1994 and was campaigns director for the Trades Union Congress from 1994 to 1997.

Mr Healey said: “I am delighted to be appointed shadow health secretary. 

“The government’s plans will damage care for patients and dismantle the NHS as our national health service. 

“The British public are proud of the NHS, and it’s always been at Labour’s heart. I look forward to working with Ed Miliband to show clearly and quickly what the Tory plans will mean for people and their families.” 

Former health ministers Caroline Flint, Ivan Lewis and Alan Johnson were also elected to cabinet posts.

Mr Johnson is the new shadow chancellor, while Ms Flint has secured a role as shadow secretary of state for communities and local government. Mr Lewis is shadow secretary of state for culture, media and sport.