Health minister Lord Darzi resigns
Wednesday 15 July 2009
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."
- 2 Man who held up 'hire me' sign at Waterloo station returns a year later with 'I'm hiring' sign
Rowan Atkinson to sell £10 million McLaren 'supercar' he crashed into a tree and a lamppost
UK weather: Snow to fall in the coming week with sub-zero temperatures to last until early February
Saudi preacher who 'raped and tortured' his five -year-old daughter to death is released after paying 'blood money'
Warriors in ancient Iraq suffered Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder more than 3,000 years ago, say researchers
US blames Russia after rocket attacks in Ukraine kill at least 30
Nigel Farage: NHS might have to be replaced by private health insurance
'We would evict Queen from Buckingham Palace and allocate her council house,' say Greens
French court convicts three over homophobic tweets, in case hailed as a 'significant victory' by LGBT rights campaigners
British Muslim school children suffering a backlash of abuse following Paris attacks
George Galloway condemns 'racist, Islamophobic, hypocritical rag' Charlie Hebdo at freedom of speech rally
Islamic history is full of free thinkers - but recent attempts to suppress critical thought are verging on the absurd
Excellent Salary : Austen Lloyd: OXFORD - REGIONAL FIRM - An excellent opportu...
Super Package: Austen Lloyd: BRISTOL - SENIOR CLINICAL NEGLIGENCE - An outstan...
£15000 - £50000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Fantastic opportunities are ava...
Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: A Compute Engineer is required to join a globa...