• Health and social care secretary stays in post
  • Hancock cites “big and exciting commitments from our new prime minister”

The new prime minister has kept Matt Hancock as health and social care secretary despite making major changes to the rest of the Cabinet. 

Mr Hancock, who was given the role in summer last year, had been tipped by some for a promotion under Boris Johnson, having strongly backed the new prime minister’s leadership campaign in recent weeks.

In an apparent reference to Mr Johnson’s comments about the NHS in his first prime ministerial speech earlier on Wednesday, Mr Hancock tweeted: “I love the NHS – it’s a great honour to be asked to drive forward the health and care of the nation – with big and exciting commitments from our new prime minister.”

Mr Johnson said in his speech: “My job is to make sure you don’t have to wait three weeks to see your GP – and we start work this week, with 20 new hospital upgrades, and ensuring that money for the NHS really does get to the front line.” 

He also said: “We will fix the crisis in social care once and for all with a clear plan we have prepared to give every older person the dignity and security they deserve.”

Questions to government about the detail of these plans have so far gone unanswered, and several senior government and NHS officials said the origin of the 20 hospitals figure was unclear. 

Well placed sources and reports indicated Mr Johnson’s team planned to make NHS infrastructure a priority, however. It comes amid an increasing clamour from the service about the urgent need for capital spending, and a desire from the government to show change at the “front line” of the NHS.

While leaving Mr Hancock in post the new prime minister made many changes to other Cabinet posts, including appointing Sajid Javid as chancellor, and Robert Jenrick, previously a Treasury minister, as secretary of state for housing, communities and local government.