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Hunt says health secretary is likely his ‘last big job in politics’

Health secretary Jeremy Hunt has said his current brief if is ‘likely his last big job in politics’, as junior A&E doctors are taking to the picket lines today in the first all-out strike in NHS history.

But, speaking on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme this morning, Mr Hunt signalled that he remained certain that history would prove him right over the junior doctor contract dispute.

Mr Hunt said that although health secretaries were ‘never popular’, history would be judging him on whether he took ’tough and difficult decisions that enabled the NHS to deliver high-quality care for patients’.

He said: ‘This is likely to be my last big job in politics and the one thing that will keep me awake at night is if I didn’t do the right thing to help make the NHS one of the safest, highest-quality healthcare systems in the world.’

It comes as Mr Hunt defended his decision not to back down on the junior doctor contract imposition to the House of Commons yesterday, while pleading with doctors not to withdraw emergency care.

He also said patients would be able to access longer hours at their GP surgeries today and tomorrow, although neither NHS England nor the Department of Health could tell Pulse where.