Mr Skidmore, Conservative MP for Kingswood, has replaced Stephen Hammond in the latest cabinet reshuffle and will work alongside the incumbent health secretary Matt Hancock, who is staying in his role.
It had been rumoured Mr Hancock was in line for a promotion, following his public backing of Mr Johnson, but he has remained in the position he has now held for just over a year.
Mr Skidmore was first elected in 2010, following which he has been a member of both the Commons’ health and social care committee, from July 2010 to June 2013, and the education committee, from November 2012 until March 2014.
He most recently served as the minister for universities, science, research and innovation, a post he has held since December 2018.
As part of his pledge to improve public services during a speech in Manchester on 27th July, Mr Johnson said he would find a “long term solution to social care once and for all”, promising that he would deliver the NHS funding rise of £20.5bn by 2023-24 laid out by Theresa May’s government in November 2018.
Mr Skidmore, who’s mother served as ward nurse at the Bristol Royal Infirmary, echoed this promise following his appointment, tweeting on Saturday 27 July that he was honoured to serve as Health Minister and would “work tirelessly to protect our NHS”.
During David Cameron’s 2010-15 government, Mr Skidmore voted in favour of the controversial 2012 Health and Social Care Act, a proposal that sought to dramatically reorganise the NHS primarily by introducing market forces into health and social care.
The act was opposed by the Royal College of GPs along with the Royal College of Nursing and the Royal College of Midwives and was recognised by the opposition at the time as a sign of the government’s intention of opening the NHS to the private sector. Both the RCN and the RCM joined the British Medical Association in opposition to the bill that preceded the act in January 2012.
Alongside the announcement of Mr Skidmore’s appointment, Ms Churchill, MP for Bury St Edmunds, and Ms Dorries, MP for Mid Bedfordshire, have also been appointed parliamentary under secretaries of state.
While the Department for Health and Social Care website has not yet been updated, Matt Hancock confirmed that Ms Dorries – a more controversial appointment – would be responsible for the mental health brief.
Ms Dorries is a former nurse who was first elected MP for Mid Bedfordshire in 2005. She has become known for her a stance on abortion following her introduction of a private members bill in 2006 which proposed the shortening of the time limits to terminate a pregnancy from 24 weeks to 21.
Like Mr Skidmore, Ms Dorries also served on the health and social care committee from July 2010 to June 2011.
Ms Churchill was previously an assistant government whip.