Former nurse Anne Milton is tipped to replace Jeremy Hunt as Health Secretary as May reshuffles the cabinet.
Theresa May is set to announce her cabinet reshuffle today and with Jeremy Hunt set to become May’s second-in-command as the new First Minister for State, the former Nurse and Conservative MP, Ann Milton, is on track to step into his shoes.
Update: It has been announced that Jeremy Hunt will remain as Secretary of State for Health.
Mr Hunt is presently the longest-serving Health Minister in history since he was promoted in September 2012.
Anne Milton trained as a Registered Nurse at St Bartholomew’s Hospital in London before working for the NHS for 25 years, as a District Nurse. During her time as a Nurse, she served as a steward for the Royal College of Nursing and was involved with the National Childbirth Trust.
She is one of five nurses who currently hold seats in Parliment.
She became involved in politics in the early 1990s and Mrs Milton is presently serving as the Conservative Elected Member of Parliament (MP) for Guildford – a seat she has held continuously since 2005.
Following her election, she was swiftly promoted to the Shadow Minister for Tourism in 2006 and then the Shadow Health Minister in 2007.
In July 2010, Milton suggested that doctors should describe obese patients as ‘fat’ to encourage them to take responsibility for their condition. This was criticised by campaigners who pointed out that a clinical definition was being replaced with a subjective, pejorative term.
Between May 2015 to June 2017 Ms Milton was deputy chief whip in the House of Commons – reportedly one of the most effective and respected whips in her party.
In June 2017, she was appointed as Minister of State responsible for Skills and Apprenticeships at the Department for Education, and Minister of State for Women in the Government Equalities Office.
During a vote in June 2017, Mrs Milton was one of three Nurses who voted against a pay rise for public sector workers.
Despite her extensive experience, Mrs Milton has never voted against her party in the Commons and according to the website, TheyWorkForYou, has consistently voted socialist policies including those to increase tuition fees and against dropping the controversial Health and Social Care Bill.
However, critics, citing ‘conflict of interests’, say that Mrs Milton should be prevented from taking up the role after being heavily linked to the private healthcare firm Virgin Care, with her husband Dr Graham Henderson sitting on the board as Medical Director.
MEP Keith Taylor reacted with fury today following the revelation. He said:
“It was Virgin Care that just tried to sue our NHS in Surrey for awarding an NHS contract to an NHS provider, with the NHS having to hand over a reported £2m, that should have been spent on patient care, in an out of court settlement.
“There was no fault found with the tendering process, the financial might of Virgin Care meant it was cheaper for our NHS to settle out of court rather than being forced to match Virgin’s spending in the courts to defend the process.
“Virgin Care Ltd held our NHS to ransom. Anne Milton’s husband is a director of Virgin Care Ltd in Surrey. This must be shared widely.”