Editorial: Time for the new health secretary to listen to GPs

'It's a huge task and the biggest privilege of my life.'

These were the words of Jeremy Hunt in a BBC interview, shortly after he was unveiled as successor to Andrew Lansley in the first major restructure since the Conservative-Liberal Democrat government came to power in 2010.

Few GP tears are likely to be shed at the departure of Mr Lansley, whose Health and Social Care Act became law earlier this year.

Mr Hunt's promotion is curious because health is not a subject in which his expertise is renowned and he has also been under recent pressure for his handling of the BSkyB takeover bid.

There have also been changes at the top of the BMA. GPonline last week revealed that retired GP Dr Kailash Chand, an outspoken critic of Mr Lansley's vision, had been elected deputy chairman. Dr Chand was uncompromising about Mr Lansley's two-year reign as health secretary, describing him as doing an 'utterly miserable job'.

Away from the corridors of Richmond House, Westminster and BMA House, 212 clinical commissioning groups covering the entirety of England are undergoing authorisation by the NHS Commissioning Board to take over from PCTs from April 2013. The BMA and other unions are at loggerheads with the government over proposed NHS pension changes and ministers are expected to give the go-ahead imminently to revalidation of GPs.

There's a great deal for the BMA and the RCGP, thanks to the profile-raising work of its chairwoman Professor Clare Gerada, to discuss with Mr Hunt.

Mr Lansley spent many years shadowing the health secretary and it seems likely that his opinions may have been more firmly entrenched than Mr Hunt's. The BMA and the RCGP should waste no time in seeking to put their views to a fresh pair of ears.

Have you registered with us yet?

Register now to enjoy more articles and free email bulletins

Register

Already registered?

Sign in

Follow Us:

Just published

The healthcare crisis in Myanmar - how UK GPs can help

The healthcare crisis in Myanmar - how UK GPs can help

Dr Jim Brockbank from Myanmar UK GP Health Action provides an update on how the military...

GPs warn of 'open floodgates' as 84% say e-consultations have driven up workload

GPs warn of 'open floodgates' as 84% say e-consultations have driven up workload

More than four fifths of GPs say e-consultation systems adopted in the pandemic have...

Map: Which CCGs have the highest COVID-19 vaccine coverage?

Map: Which CCGs have the highest COVID-19 vaccine coverage?

Tens of millions of COVID-19 jabs have been administered across England, but how...

Podcast: Greener practice, sharing patient data and additional roles

Podcast: Greener practice, sharing patient data and additional roles

In this episode we look at data extraction from GP records, ask whether the additional...

Red flag symptoms: Loss of consciousness

Red flag symptoms: Loss of consciousness

Red flag symptoms to look out for in presentations of loss of consciousness, including...

£20m fund to speed up second jabs as CCGs told to limit pressure on practices

£20m fund to speed up second jabs as CCGs told to limit pressure on practices

NHS England has announced £20m in funding to help local COVID-19 vaccination sites...