Dr Dan Poulter, MP for Central Suffolk and North Ipswich, has chosen not to continue in his health minister post to spend more time with his patients.
It seems he was asked by David Cameron to continue as a health minister but slept on the offer and decided not to accept. Ben Gummer, MP for the neighbouring Ipswich constituency, is taking up a similar role to that vacated by Poulter.
Poulter told the East Anglian Daily Times:
It was a difficult decision – and it might have been different if I had been offered a promotion within the department. But I do enjoy medical work and I felt it was not the right time for me to give that up.
Throughout the last parliament, he continued doing hospital shifts and now intends take specialist training in psychiatry over the summer and work part-time in a London hospital. He stresses he will also have more time for constituency work.
The health ministry job was probably not fulfilling for a doctor who wants to care for patients — he had responsibility for NHS estates and IT systems. I am wondering if the signals for his decision were in his election leaflets which, while stressing his support for hospitals, made no mention of his job as a health minister.
He is not ruling out another ministerial role in the future. Overall, this sounds like a man who loves his pre-parliamentary work and his putting this above political ambition.
Now he is keeping his options open, telling the EADT that if he stopped practicing it would be hard to resume a medical career in a few years time.
After thought: It is a pity Ben Gummer will have less time to devote to his pre-parliament work as a historian and author of the well-received history of the Black Dea, The Scourging Angel.