Health minister Lord Darzi resigns

Lord Darzi of Denham, the Health minister and a practising surgeon, has resigned from the Government after two years in the post.

His departure marks the almost total collapse of Gordon Brown's attempt to form a "Government of all the talents" (Goat) by hiring ministers from outside the Labour Party.

Lord Carter, the Communications minister, leaves this summer after completing his report into Digital Britain. Lord Malloch-Brown, the Africa minister, is following him, citing "family and personal reasons". Lord Jones, the former Trade minister, left his post last October.

Lord West, the Security minister, is the only remaining "Goat". Alan Sugar, the star of The Apprentice, has been recruited to advise the Government but he has not become a minister.

Friends of Lord Darzi said he was exhausted from holding two jobs and had done what he had set out to do and put the NHS on the path to reform. "He was trying to be a minister and an innovative surgeon at the same time – it's knackering," said one friend.

He was appointed in 2007 as the Government was within sight of conquering the NHS's waiting list problem by reducing maximum waits to 18 weeks. His brief was to switch the focus from increasing the quantity of treatment – a task that had preoccupied the NHS for 60 years – to improving its quality. His report High Quality Care for All, published in July 2008, set out plans to tie the income of NHS trusts to their record on safety and effectiveness of care, and on patient satisfaction

He published a one-year update last month that proposed awarding "gold standard" status to the best hospitals. His update showed GPs were offering longer surgery hours and more than 50 GP polyclinics had been set up.

Colleagues were puzzled over the timing of his decision to leave but the squeeze on public spending would have made implementing his agenda more difficult. A source said: "There was always an understanding he would do the [quality] report, do the one-year review and then see where things were going from there."

The shadow Health Secretary, Andrew Lansley, said: "Darzi's laudable focus on quality was increasingly at odds with the Brownite fixation with targets and command and control."

The Liberal Democrat health spokesman, Norman Lamb, said: "A short spell as a minister seems to be the new route into the House of Lords for New Labour supporters."

The Health Secretary, Andy Burnham, said Lord Darzi had set a "defining vision" for the NHS for years to come. Lord Darzi said: "The time has now come for me to return to care for my patients, lead my academic department, and continue my research full time."

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Sport
England's women celebrate after their 3rd place play-off win against Germany
Women's World CupFara Williams converts penalty to secure victory and bronze medals
Arts and Entertainment
Ricardo by Edward Sutcliffe, 2014
artPortraits of LA cricketers from notorious suburb go on display
News
newsHillary Clinton comments on viral Humans of New York photo of gay teenager
Arts and Entertainment
The gang rape scene in the Royal Opera’s production of Gioachino Rossini’s Guillaume Tell has caused huge controversy
music
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Sales Administrator - Spanish Speaking

£17000 - £21000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Administrator - German Speaking

£17000 - £23000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Administrator - Japanese Speaking

£17000 - £23000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: If you are fluent in Japanese a...

Recruitment Genius: Graphic Designer - Immediate Start

£16000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity...

Day In a Page

The Greek referendum exposes a gaping hole at the heart of the European Union – its distinct lack of any genuine popular legitimacy

Gaping hole at the heart of the European Union

Treatment of Greece has shown up a lack of genuine legitimacy
Number of young homeless in Britain 'more than three times the official figures'

'Everything changed when I went to the hostel'

Number of young homeless people in Britain is 'more than three times the official figures'
Compton Cricket Club

Compton Cricket Club

Portraits of LA cricketers from notorious suburb to be displayed in London
London now the global money-laundering centre for the drug trade, says crime expert

Wlecome to London, drug money-laundering centre for the world

'Mexico is its heart and London is its head'
The Buddhist temple minutes from Centre Court that helps a winner keep on winning

The Buddhist temple minutes from Centre Court

It helps a winner keep on winning
Is this the future of flying: battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks?

Is this the future of flying?

Battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks
Isis are barbarians – but the Caliphate is a dream at the heart of all Muslim traditions

Isis are barbarians

but the Caliphate is an ancient Muslim ideal
The Brink's-Mat curse strikes again: three tons of stolen gold that brought only grief

Curse of Brink's Mat strikes again

Death of John 'Goldfinger' Palmer the latest killing related to 1983 heist
Greece debt crisis: 'The ministers talk to us about miracles' – why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum

'The ministers talk to us about miracles'

Why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum
Call of the wild: How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate

Call of the wild

How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate
Greece debt crisis: What happened to democracy when it’s a case of 'Vote Yes or else'?

'The economic collapse has happened. What is at risk now is democracy...'

If it doesn’t work in Europe, how is it supposed to work in India or the Middle East, asks Robert Fisk
The science of swearing: What lies behind the use of four-letter words?

The science of swearing

What lies behind the use of four-letter words?
The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won't have him back

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won’t have him back
Africa on the menu: Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the continent

Africa on the menu

Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the hot new continent
Donna Karan is stepping down after 30 years - so who will fill the DKNY creator's boots?

Who will fill Donna Karan's boots?

The designer is stepping down as Chief Designer of DKNY after 30 years. Alexander Fury looks back at the career of 'America's Chanel'