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Reaction: Jeremy Hunt’s reappointment 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.