The south London GP, who led the successful campaign against the downgrading of Lewisham hospital, will stand against Mr Hunt for the South West Surrey constituency for the National Health Action party in next year’s general election.
The party, which was formed by health professionals and NHS supporters in 2012 in protest at the coalition’s health reforms, said at its annual conference on Sunday it would stand against a raft of key government MPs including the prime minister and deputy prime minister.
NHA’s co-leader, consultant oncologist Dr Clive Peedell, will challenge David Cameron for his Witney seat, while disability rights campaigner Naveen Judah will stand against Nick Clegg in Sheffield Hallam.
GP Dr Bob Gill will take on Conservative immigration minister James Brokenshire in Old Bexley and Sidcup.
GPs take on ministers
Retired Maidstone GP Dr Paul Hobday is taking on Conservative sports minister Helen Grant.
‘I've faced Jeremy Hunt in the courts – and beaten him twice,' said Dr Irvine. ‘Now I’ll face him at the ballot box. He needs to be held to account for what he's doing to our NHS and the way in which he has bulldozed democracy, changing the law to push through hospital closures when he was beaten in court. I look forward to a serious debate with the health secretary about the future of our NHS.’
Dr Peedell told party members voters need to realise that the very survival of the NHS was at stake.
‘It won’t endure another five years of continued closures, cost-cutting and privatisation,' he said.
‘If we could get even just one or two MPs elected, the public would know there’d be representatives in parliament on whom they could always rely to act purely in the best interests of patients and of the NHS, without letting political ideology get in the way.’
Dr Hobday said he had retired as a GP because of increasing commercialisation. ‘I have to fight the coalition government’s undemocratic, clandestine privatisation,' he said.