Following last week’s general election, in which Theresa May lost the Conservative majority, Jeremy Hunt has been reappointed as health secretary for a record third time.
Mr Hunt, who entered 10 Downing Street wearing his NHS lapel pin shortly after 4pm yesterday afternoon, was confirmed in his position nearly an hour later.
Having previously been quoted as saying that this would be his ‘last big job in politics’, Hunt will have held the position for five years this September – making him the longest serving health secretary.
However, Mr Hunt will be forced to select new health ministers after two out of three, David Mowat and Nicola Blackwood, lost their seats in last week’s general election.
The staff of the NHS you are destroying feel dismayed and undervalued at news of @Jeremy_Hunt being reappointed. Have some insight.
— Ged Swinton (@gedswinton) June 12, 2017
In the election, Mr Hunt saw a 4.1% decrease in his majority in his South West Surrey constituency.
He was up against local GP, Dr Louise Irvine, who stood for the National Health Action party and saw an 11.5% increase in her votes from the 2015 election.
Leaders in healthcare have praised the ‘valuable continuity’ and experience in his reappointment ‘at a time of enormous challenge for the NHS’.
PSNC urge health secretary to ‘reflect on the benefits’ of pharmacy
Pharmaceutical Services Negotiating Committee (PSNC) chief executive, Sue Sharpe, said: ‘Now that Jeremy Hunt has been given the opportunity to re-engage with those who work in the health and care system, we hope that he will take the time to reflect on the benefits of using pharmacy to help in the crisis confronting the NHS and seek to work differently with the sector going forward.
‘PSNC will want to meet with Mr Hunt and the health minister responsible for pharmacy at the earliest opportunity, to ensure they develop policies that develop the community pharmacy service and secure a strong future for community pharmacy.’
NPA calls for constructive dialogue with DH that ‘has been missing recently’
Ian Strachan, National Pharmacy Association (NPA) chairman said: ‘We hope that Jeremy Hunt will encourage fresh thinking in his department about pharmacy policy – seeing local pharmacies as a solution to many long standing problems in the NHS. A pledge in the Conservative manifesto, that pharmacies will play a stronger role to keep people healthy outside hospital, provides the basis for constructive dialogue that has been missing recently.
‘With consistent support, pharmacies can do much more to take pressure off GPs and hospitals, make access to NHS care more convenient, help people with long-term conditions, tackle medicines waste, save the NHS money and become the front door to health in the UK.’
‘We look forward to working with him’
The chief executive of NHS Providers, Chris Hopson, said: ‘He has already made an important contribution in this role, particularly through his commitment to improving patient safety. We look forward to working with him and his ministerial team.’
However, Mr Hopson outlined five priorities for the health secretary, including better winter planning, ensuring more NHS funding in 2017 Budget and addressing workforce challenges.
Niall Dickson, chief executive of the NHS Confederation, said: ‘We look forward to continuing to work with Jeremy Hunt and would like to congratulate him on his reappointment as Secretary of State for Health.
‘This will provide continuity at a difficult and uncertain time for the country in general and for the NHS in particular.’