Sarah Wollaston to be Re-elected Chair of the House of Commons Health Select Committee

Former GP Dr Sarah Wollaston MP will be re-elected chair of the House of Commons health select committee, according to media reports.

The Conservative MP for Totnes, in Devon, was unopposed in the election to the position.

It is expected that her appointment will be officially announced by the speaker of the House of Commons on Wednesday.

Wollaston had assumed the position from former health secretary Stephen Dorrell in 2014 and was subsequently re-elected to the role after the 2015 general election, beating fellow Tory David Tredinnick.

The MP, who worked as a GP and hospital doctor in Devon for 24 years has said previously the health committee “plays an important role in holding to account not only the government but all those who commission and provide these vital services including NHS England and CCGs”.

Londonwide LMCs welcomed the election result, noting on its Twitter feed that Dr Wollaston had “consistently asked questions reflecting the concerns of staff on the NHS front line”.

Chair positions for all select committees are divided among the parties based on their strength in the House of Commons, with health a position currently held by the Conservatives.

Committee members and chairs are elected by the whole house.

Wollaston has been a strong critic of aspects of the both the Conservative and previous coalition governments’ health and care policies.

Recently she has spoken out against maintaining the 1% public sector pay cap, warning of the effects it will have of recruitment, retention and morale and knock-on effects on patient safety.

Wollaston has also recently questioned whether government plans to put GPs in every Accident and Emergency in England were possible given the workforce crisis.

She also raised similar concerns over plans for seven-day NHS services.

The former GP particularly disputed the current government’s NHS funding figures, calling ministers’ claims to have given the NHS an extra £10bn “incorrect”.

Wollaston made a name for herself as being inclined to rebel soon after being elected in 2010, when she opposed parts of the coalition government’s Health and Social Care Act reforms.

As such, she has rebelled against the Government on several key votes—voting in favour of a referendum on Britain’s membership of the European Union in 2011, for a cut in the EU budget in 2011, and against military intervention in Syria in 2013.

Wollaston graduated with a degree in medicine in 1986, and embarked on a career in hospital paediatrics.

But after five years as a junior doctor in London, she moved to Bristol to train as a general practitioner, becoming a fully-fledged family doctor in 1992.

Wollaston was also a police surgeon from 1996 to 2001, dealing with victims of sexual assaults, advising the police on whether a suspect is fit to be interviewed, and treating people in custody.

She is still on the medical register but she stopped practising medicine in 2010 when she was elected to Parliament.


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