What GPs need to know about health secretary Jeremy Hunt

As Jeremy Hunt takes over from Andrew Lansley as health secretary, GP magazine takes a closer look at who will be in charge of the DH during the implementation of the Health Act.

Jeremy Hunt: health secretary after just 7 years in parliament
Jeremy Hunt: health secretary after just 7 years in parliament

Political career

  • Entered parliament in 2005 after being elected as the Conservative member of parliament for South West Surrey.
  • Member of the International Development Committee from July 2005 to July 2006. He set up the charity Hotcourses Foundation to help HIV/AIDS orphans in Africa.
  • Shadow minister for disabled people at the department of work and pensions from December 2005 to July 2007.
  • Shadow secretary of state for culture, media and sport from July 2007 to January 2009.
  • Secretary of state for culture, Olympics, media and sport from May 2010 to September 2012.

NHS

  • Co-author of Direct Democracy - Agenda for a New Model Party which called for the ‘denationalisation’ of the NHS. The book, which was written by 24 Conservative politicians and activists including education secretary Michael Gove and MEP Daniel Hannan in 2005, said: ‘Our ambition should be to break down the barriers between private and public provision, in effect denationalising the provision of healthcare in Britain, so extending to all the choices currently available only to the minority who opt for private care.'

Homeopathy

  • Signed a parliamentary Early Day Motion (EDM) in 2007 welcoming ‘the positive contribution made to the health of the nation by the NHS homeopathic hospitals’. The EDM said complementary medicine could help treat chronic conditions including chronic difficult to treat conditions such as musculoskeletal and other chronic pain, eczema, depression, anxiety and insomnia, allergy, chronic fatigue and irritable bowel syndrome.
  • In a letter to a constituent he said: ‘Homeopathic care is enormously valued by thousands of people and in an NHS that the government repeatedly tells us is "patient-led" it ought to be available where a doctor and patient believe that a homeopathic treatment may be of benefit to the patient.’

Abortion

  • In 2008 Mr Hunt voted for the abortion time limit to be reduced to 12 weeks from 24.

Smoking ban

  • Voted in 2006 for councils to allow private members clubs to be exempt from the smoking ban.
  • Voted in favour of the smoking ban as part of the Health Act in 2006.

Leveson Inquiry

  • Earlier this year, Mr Hunt came under pressure to resign after the Leveson Inquiry revealed his handling of Rupert Murdoch's bid for control of BSkyB, when he was secretary of state for culture, Olympics, media and sport.
  • Criticised for London 2012 Olympics security staff shortages which resulted in the army having to be brought in.

Life before politics

  • Went to school in South West Surrey, and then studied politics, philosophy and economics at Magdalen College, Oxford, gaining a first class honours degree.
  • After a brief period as a management consultant he went to Japan for two years where he supported himself teaching English while he learnt Japanese.
  • With a business partner set up Hotcourses Ltd, the UK’s largest publisher of guides and websites to help people choose the right school, college, university or course.

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