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Scotland gets new health secretary

Scottish GPs are set to be governed by a new health secretary, with Shona Robison appointed to the seat today.

Scottish National Party (SNP) member Ms Robison, the MPS for Dundee, is currently the cabinet secretary for Commonwealth Games, sport, equalities and pensioners’ rights and has also been a public health minister. In her new post, her full title will be cabinet secretary for health, wellbeing and sport.

She will replace Alex Neil, who has held the health secretary role for the past two years and now becomes cabinet secretary for social justice, communities and pensioners’ rights.

The cabinet reshuffle is the first step from new first minister – and former Scottish health secretary – Nicola Sturgeon, who replaced Alex Salmond at the helm of the Scottish Government after the ‘yes’ campaign lost the referendum on Scottish independence in September.

Commenting on Ms Robison’s appointment, Scottish BMA chair Dr Peter Bennie said: ‘Ms Robison already has extensive knowledge of this portfolio having served in the shadow cabinet and more recently as public health minister, where we had a positive dialogue and worked together to progress world-leading public health policy.’

‘However there are escalating challenges for the Scottish health service and we are keen to work with her to identify solutions that ensure the sustainability of the NHS in the long term.’

The GPC typically has a better working relationship with the Government north of the border, having recently achieved their bid for a three-year contract deal, while agreeing to a wholesale renegotiation from 2017/18 onwards.