The appointment of Paul Burstow as minister of state for health has been welcomed by NHS managers keen to see social care reform move apace.

Mr Burstow was Liberal Democratolder people and social services spokesperson from 2003 to 2005.

Social care reform is one of health secretary Andrew Lansley’s “personal priorities” for the Department of Health, he told staff there last week.

He said people should have the “opportunity to contribute in partnership” - with both individuals and the state making a contribution.

“There is a social solidarity involved in us making collective provision so that the weakest and the most vulnerable in society know that when they have the greatest need we will be there to support them,” he said.

In the run-up to the election, the Conservatives had argued vociferously with Labour and the Liberal Democrats over social care reform. The other minister of state is Simon Burns, who returns to Richmond House after 13 years having served as a junior health minister at the end of the last Tory government. He served on the Commons health select committee for six years from 1999. Two years later he was appointed shadow health spokesman. He has twice campaigned for Democratic presidential candidates. He told the BBC the Democrats “believe in free healthcare”.

“They believe in helping people when they’re in trouble and those are the sort of philosophies that the Conservative Party is totally at home with and supportive of.”

Anne Milton and Earl Howe are parliamentary under-secretaries of state for health.