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


Already registered?

Sign in

Follow Us:

Just published

External wall of GP surgery with wording 'medical centre'

‘Utterly toxic’: GPs speak out over abuse and physical attacks on practice teams

GPs have condemned a rise in verbal and physical attacks on practice staff - warning...

Artist's image of a spiked virus

Javid warns of 'substantial risk' from new COVID-19 variant

The highly mutated COVID-19 variant B.1.1.529 'may pose a significant risk to public...

Desk with lettering 'LMC conference'

LMCs reject 'outdated' GMS contract and demand move to item of service payments

LMCs have voted to scrap the 'outdated and inadequate' GMS contract and to replace...

GPs at an LMC conference waving green voting cards in the air

LMCs demand ringfence on enhanced services cash and clear GP representation in ICSs

LMCs have called for a ringfence on enhanced services funding, along with a guarantee...

Close up of hands typing on a computer

Practices should not be required to provide online consultations, say LMCs

Online consultations should no longer be a part of the GMS contract and targets for...

Sign outside BMA House

More than half of GP practices prepared to pull out of PCNs, BMA ballot shows

More than half of GP practices in England are prepared to opt out of the PCN DES...