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At the heart of general practice since 1960

Health minister Lord Darzi quits

By Steve Nowottny

Lord Ara Darzi is to resign his position as a minister at the Department of Health, it has been announced.

Lord Darzi will step down when Parliament goes into recess for the summer and return to practising surgery, although he will remain as an adviser to the Department.

In a statement to announce his resignation, Lord Darzi said: 'Two years ago I was appointed by the Prime Minister to lead the NHS Next Stage review. We brought together thousands of clinicians and patients to determine the way forward for the NHS, and in June 2008, published our report, High Quality Care for All.'

'For the past year, I have overseen implementation of the report's conclusion. The great strides taken by the NHS have only been made possible through the Government's commitment to a massive increase in investment and to guiding the health service through the difficult but necessary reforms of the past decade.'

'During my time as a Minister, I have maintained my clinical practice and research. The time has now come for me to return to care for my patients, lead my academic department, and continue my research full time. I will be stepping down from my post as Parliamentary Under-Secretary in the Department of Health when Parliament goes into recess for the summer.'

'I would like to thank the Prime Minister for his leadership, support and the courage it took to appoint a frontline doctor to undertake a fundamental review of the future direction of the NHS. I am deeply grateful to him for having given me the privilege of serving as a Government minister and for giving me the freedom to make tough but important decisions.'

Health Secretary Andy Burnham paid tribute to the 'immense contribution' that Lord Darzi had made.

'The Next Stage Review has set a defining vision for the National Health Service for years to come, embedding quality at the heart of everything it does, and engaging thousands of staff and patients along the way. This vision is now being delivered locally, by front line staff, who will continue to develop and deliver the changes set out in the Next Stage Review in the years ahead.'

'I am delighted that Ara will remain part of this process through his new advisory role and I look forward to continuing to work closely with him in the future.'

Health minister Lord Darzi is to resign Health minister Lord Darzi is to resign

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