The government has appointed a health minister in the Lords, who will lead on innovation and life sciences.
Lord Bethell was yesterday confirmed as Parliamentary under secretary of state at the Department of Health and Social Care, following last month’s resignation of Baroness Blackwood.
The hereditary peer has been a government whip in the Lords since last year, and has previously worked as a businessman — including as managing director for the Ministry of Sound nightclub — and as a political adviser, in public relations, and as a reporter.
He said on Twitter he was “honoured to be appointed a health minister [and] proud to be part of government’s [Lords] front bench team”.
Honoured to be appointed a health minister today. Responsible for life sciences. Committed to supporting @DHSCgovuk response to the #coronavirus challenge. Proud to be part of government’s @UKHouseofLords front bench team. pic.twitter.com/0G6MD4KZB1— Lord Bethell (@JimBethell) March 9, 2020
Health and social care secretary Matt Hancock said: “A big welcome to Lord Bethell who joins the department as our Lords Minister, responsible for life sciences. Big shoes to fill, but I am sure he’ll make a big impact.”
Meanwhile, the Commons health and social care committee has launched its first major thematic inquiry since last year’s general election, on social care funding and workforce.
The inquiry announcement said: “The inquiry into social care funding will seek to establish how much extra money would need to be spent by government in each of the next five years to counteract the impact of a shortage of care on the NHS.”