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At the heart of general practice since 1960

System delays slowing GP Ca diagnosis

Fresh faces at the Department of Health, but will there be a change in policy? Rob Finch reports on the line-up and what GPs expect in the next four years

The Prime Minister has signalled his determination to press ahead with NHS reforms by packing the Department of Health with his supporters.

A ministerial clearout at the department following Lab-our's election victory has left only two ministers in place, with both John Hutton and John Reid taking new Cabinet roles.

Patricia Hewitt replaces Mr Reid as Secretary of State for Health. She said she was 'determined to drive forward plans to create a patient-led NHS'.

But Ms Hewitt, the former Trade and Industry Secretary, also pledged to 'do a lot of listening'.

She said: 'I intend to get around all parts of the NHS, finding out for myself what

patients feel about the care they are receiving and shadowing staff as they carry out their duties.

'I will listen to everyone, whether medics or midwives, cleaners, porters or physiotherapists, stop-smoking teams or our new breed of personal health advisers.'

John Hutton, the minister responsible for primary care for the past three years, leaves, after winning a longed-for promotion to the Cabinet.

He is replaced by Jane Kennedy, who moves across from Work and Pensions. A Blair loyalist, Ms Kennedy was a strong supporter of foundation trusts.

Other new appointees were Caroline Flint, and Liam Byrne, a former Labour party campaign adviser who only entered Parliament last July.

Dr Laurence Buckman, deputy chair of the GPC, said he did not think there would be a problem working with the new team.

He said: 'All we'd say at this stage is we look forward to working with them. I don't think we know enough about them yet. They certainly don't have bad reputations.'

Dr Buckman said that John Reid had 'helped' contract

negotiations during crucial times.

Who's who in the

new health team

In

·Patricia Hewitt from Trade and Industry

·Jane Kennedy from Work and Pensions

·Caroline Flint from the Home Office

·Liam Byrne only became an MP last July

Out

·John Reid to Defence

·John Hutton becomes Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster

·Melanie Johnson lost her seat

·Stephen Ladyman to Transport

Left behind

·Lord Warner

·Rosie Winterton

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