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#GPnews: Jeremy Hunt says health secretary job now a ‘vocation’

14:20 And on the topic of Jeremy Hunt, the man himself has today published a ‘message to NHS staff in support of their excellent work’.

In the note Mr Hunt, who was reappointed to the health brief last week, indicated he wasn’t in a hurry to leave his post.

Mr Hunt said: ‘When I was first made health secretary I said it was the biggest privilege of my life, and so it has proved. What I didn’t realise then was that it would also become my biggest passion – working in health is not just a job but a vocation.’

He went on to say how impressed he has been with NHS staff during the recent terror attacks in Manchester and London, adding: ‘These stories speak to a wider truth: NHS staff do an amazing job, often in the most difficult of circumstances.

‘And it is this which brings us all together – our great belief in the NHS, what it stands for and what we believe it can be. Your compassion, energy, dynamism and total dedication, day in, day out, are truly humbling.’

But praise may be the only substantial reward the NHS can expect, as he added how ‘money is always going to be a pressure’.

This follows on from Mr Hunt’s NHS Confed speech yesterday where he argued that his party is not taking an austerity approach to the NHS – despite pledging less funding that both Labour and the Lib Dems.

He said: ‘I don’t think it’s an argument about austerity or no austerity. It’s an argument about getting the policies right so we can continue to grow the economy so that we can put more money in the NHS.

‘But I can assure you that putting money into the NHS is one of the highest priorities for this Government as the economy continues to improve.’

09:50 Health secretary Jeremy Hunt has opened up the prospect of an end to the public sector pay cap, the BBC reports.

Mr Hunt reportedly told the NHS Confed conference in Liverpool yesterday that he would make a personal appeal to the chancellor on behalf of nurses.

As the BBC reports, this comes as unions have threatened walkouts this summer unless the lengthy pay restraint, with an annual cap at 1%, is lifted. 

Mr Hunt said: I’ve had a very constructive letter from Janet Davies from the Royal College of Nursing. I will be meeting with her and will make sure the conversation is reflected back to the chancellor before we make that decision.’

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