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Seema Kennedy replaces Steve Brine as pharmacy minister

Seema Kennedy, new parliamentary under-secretary of state at the Department of Health and Social Care

Source: Courtesy of Seema Kennedy

Seema Kennedy will replace Steve Brine as the parliamentary under-secretary of state at the Department of Health and Social Care. Here, she is given her flu jab at Kingsfold Pharmacy, Penwortham, in her constituency of South Ribble

Seema Kennedy has been appointed as the new parliamentary under-secretary of state at the Department of Health and Social Care.

Kennedy replaces Steve Brine as the minister in charge of the pharmacy portfolio after Brine resigned from the government over its Brexit policy.

Kennedy has been Conservative MP for South Ribble, Lancashire, since May 2015. In 2015, alongside Jo Cox, who was Labour MP for Batley and Spen, she took up a co-chair of the cross-party Loneliness Commission, which worked with charities to address the problems of loneliness. 

After Cox’s death in June 2016, Kennedy and Rachel Reeves, Labour MP for Leeds West, went on to form the Jo Cox Loneliness Commission, which sought to increase public awareness of loneliness. 

In 2017, Kennedy became the parliamentary private secretary to prime minister Theresa May.

In March 2019, Kennedy voted against a motion by Jonathan Ashworth, shadow health and social care secretary, to revoke amended legislation giving pharmacists the power to switch medicines under the serious shortage protocol.

Simon Dukes, chief executive of the Pharmaceutical Services Negotiating Committee, said he “looks forward to meeting [Kennedy] at the earliest opportunity and to building on the collaborative working relationship we have established with the department”.

“We will ensure that Ms Kennedy is briefed on the value of community pharmacy and we hope to work with her to ensure that the full potential of community pharmacies is realised.”

Sandra Gidley, chair of the English Pharmacy Board at the Royal Pharmaceutical Society, said: “We look forward to meeting the new minister and continuing to engage constructively with the government on how pharmacists’ expertise will be central to achieving the ambitions of the ‘NHS Long-Term Plan’. The public deserves to benefit from making better use of pharmacists’ skills.

“I hope the minister will build on her predecessor’s commitment to the health and wellbeing of pharmacy staff, as we ask them to play an increased role in supporting the nation’s health.”

Citation: The Pharmaceutical Journal DOI: 10.1211/PJ.2019.20206390

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