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Reaction: Jeremy Hunt's reappointment as health secretary

Read all the reaction to the Prime Minister’s decision to reappoint Jeremy Hunt as health secretary

Maureen Baker, chair of the RCGP

We look forward continuing to work with Secretary of State for Health in England Jeremy Hunt so that together we can urgently implement robust plans to deliver thousands more GPs, and ensure that general practice is appropriately resourced.

GPs and our teams currently make 90% of all NHS patient contacts, yet we receive just 8.4% of the budget in England – a record low.

General practice is the cornerstone of the NHS. It keeps the rest of the health service sustainable by keeping patients out of hospital, where care is most expensive, close to home where patients want and need care most.

But years of underinvestment in general practice and a workforce that has not increased in line with the demands of our growing and ageing population, mean that our service is struggling.

We need to reverse these trends - the new government needs to recognise our calls for 8,000 more GPs in England and for general practice to receive at least 11% of the overall NHS budget over the course of the next parliament. Only then will we be able to provide the care and services that our patients need and deserve.

Chris Ham, chief executive of The King’s Fund

The re-appointment of Jeremy Hunt as Secretary of State for Health will bring some welcome continuity as the NHS enters one of the most challenging periods in its history. It is also an opportunity to continue the work on safety and quality of care he started in the wake of the Francis report.

His first priority must be to plug the growing black hole in NHS finances by securing additional funding for the current financial year. This should go hand-in-hand with a renewed drive to improve productivity to ensure the NHS is playing its part in responding to the pressures it is facing.

Looking beyond this, the Government must use the Spending Review later this year to put the NHS on a sustainable financial footing for the rest of the parliament. The additional £8 billion a year by 2020 pledged in the Conservative manifesto is welcome but is the bare minimum needed to maintain standards of care and will not pay for new initiatives such as seven-day working. More money will also be needed for social care.

In the long term, as the Barker Commission recommended, a new settlement is needed for health and social care which ends the historic divide between the two systems. For a party seeking to govern as one nation, securing the future of the NHS - the most tangible expression of this aspiration - must be a key priority.

Rob Webster, chief executive, NHS Confederation

I would like to congratulate Jeremy Hunt on his reappointment and I look forward to continuing to work with him as we tackle the biggest challenges in the NHS for a generation. His reappointment provides stability in political leadership - something that can only help our members.

The political will to support the implementation of the Five Year Forward View, the financial support for the NHS and the consequential changes in the way in which care is delivered will be high on the agenda.

Jeremy Taylor, chief executive, National Voices, the health and social care charity coalition

Jeremy Hunt brought a much needed focus on the safety and quality of care in the last Government. We congratulate him on his re-appointment and look forward to continuing to help him and his colleagues focus on the things that most matter to patients, service users, families and carers.

Health and social care face huge financial and quality challenges in the next few years. National Voices believes that engaging people fully in their health and care is key to meeting these challenges. This means designing services around people’s needs and ensuring that people have a much stronger voice in key decisions.

The Conservative Party manifesto backed the ‘forward view’ created by the NHS and its partners, including on NHS funding,  but little has been said about the future funding of social care. This now needs to be addressed urgently. Further cuts to social care, and cuts to people’s support from benefits, could have a damaging impact on people’s health, further escalating demands on the NHS.

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Readers' comments (14)

  • Will there be any comment from anyone who is not up Hunt's a**e?

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  • Dear 5.25 I was going to write this as a single word comment to the above 3 reactions so far!

    'Schluuurrrrppp'

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  • I am relieved that there has not been a reshuffle because it deflects people from the job in hand. This is going to be a difficult time where the Better Care Fund will really start to bite. The question of means tested Social Care and free Health Care will have to be tackled now. Shying away from what is affordable and more importantly what is not, cannot be tolerated.
    Tough choices will have to be made over the future of a hospital based service or a care in the community service. Keith Joseph first introduced a white paper in 1973 and very little has happened since.

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  • I am going to be honest here, I "hate" Hunt. His behaviour and bullying of GPs has been disgraceful. He has "crossed a red line" as far as I am concerned-I now do not trust a word he says...and the next 5 years are going to be bloody hell-he personally will exacerbate the GP recruitment and retention crisis-well done, Cameron

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  • "Welcome continuity"? Chris Ham, you cannot be serious.

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  • You cannot appease bullies.You have to confront them if you don't they will not stop.WE HAVE A CHOICE.

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  • Why would you say anything but a nice fluffy comment about your boss? Mediocre conformism. But it nicely pays their bills.
    Publicise their salaries??? Maybe not.

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  • Hunt is and will be no different to anyone else appointed to the position. He follows his master's orders. The bottom line is that GPs in general have been let down by their negotiators!

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  • Post election, the moaners are still moaning and the whingers are still whinging.

    Would it have been so different with a different Government or even a different health Secretary?

    I think not!!

    Just get on with seeing Patients, no matter the Political interference General Practice's responsibility to see patients will never change.

    Concentrate on that and get back to enjoying your vocation or jump ship...... simple choice really!!

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  • @
    Anonymous | NHS Manager | 12 May 2015 11:08am

    That's all most GPs want to do! We don't want the bureaucracy and inspections and appraisals - we just want to be left alone to see our patients and treat them as we feel best.

    And no, it wouldn't be any different under a different Government. It is more a symptom of the general decline in trust and professionalism across society as a whole. Also of the increased pressure on patients to not cope, to "seek help" for every symptom going, to assume that every ill can be treated.

    Look at these poor sods in Nepal with their second earthquake, then look at the nonsense that constitutes much of what people see their GP for, and you will see how we have totally lost any sense of perspective on what is important and what is not.

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