Hewitt Leaves Cabinet Health Job

Patricia Hewitt will not be health secretary in new Prime Minister Gordon Brown’s first Cabinet.

She was widely expected to lose her post after increasing pressure over NHS deficits and doctor training schemes.

It is not yet known if she will be given another job in government, or will return to the backbenches.

Mr Brown has taken over from Tony Blair and is expected to unveil his senior ministerial team over the next 24 hours, with many changes expected.

The Downing Street website has all the Cabinet posts as “to be confirmed”, with Mr Brown’s name the only one on the list.

In May Ms Hewitt survived a no-confidence vote in the Commons following criticism of the applications system introduced to reduce the time taken by junior doctors to train as consultants.

Ms Hewitt has apologised for the system’s failings, but refused calls to resign.

Before becoming Health Secretary in 2005, Mrs Hewitt had a rapid rise since entering Parliament in 1997.

She was Trade and Industry Secretary and Minister for Women and Equality from 2001 to 2005, and Economic Secretary at the Treasury.

The NHS was highlighted by Mr Brown as one area where “change” would be made under his government.

Before entering No 10 for the first time as prime minister, he said his government would be “a new government with new priorities”, adding that he knew change was wanted.

“Change in our NHS, change in our schools, change with affordable housing, change to build trust in government, change to protect and extend the British way of life. This change cannot be met by the old politics,” he said.

Home Secretary John Reid has already said he would not continue under Mr Brown.

Trade and Industry Secretary Alistair Darling is tipped to move to the Treasury, and a new job is on the cards for Commons leader Jack Straw, who was Mr Brown’s campaign manager.