Jeremy Hunt takes health secretary role but policy change 'unlikely'

Jeremy Hunt has replaced Andrew Lansley at the DH in a major reshuffle this morning but the move is unlikely to change government policy on health, GP leaders have warned.

Jeremy Hunt: 'extremely honoured' to be appointed health secretary (Photo: Rex Features)
Jeremy Hunt: 'extremely honoured' to be appointed health secretary (Photo: Rex Features)

GPC negotiator Dr Dean Marshall said prime minister David Cameron’s decision to replace Mr Lansley before the reforms in the Health and Social Care Act are fully implemented was a damning statement on his performance in the role.

Downing Street confirmed this morning that Mr Hunt, former culture, Olympics, media and sport secretary, would become health secretary, while Mr Lansley would become the leader of the House of Commons.

Dr Marshall said: ‘It is an interesting decision. People tried to personalise the reforms but they were government policy.

‘It is a pretty damning decision to remove someone when the reforms are only supposed to be going through next April.

‘Some of the damage has already been done. It is unlikely that there will be a change of policy as it is a Tory policy rather than an individual’s policy. Lansley put his stamp on it but it is the government’s policy.’

After his appointment, Mr Hunt said: ‘It is the biggest privilege of my life. I am extremely honoured.’

Dr Kailash Chand, who was yesterday elected as BMA deputy chairman, told GP that the outgoing health secretary had done an 'utterly miserable job'. 

'He epitomised everything that has gone wrong in the last two years in the NHS,' Dr Chand said. 'A person like me is not against the personality but against the policies. The whole drive towards marketisation of the NHS has got to stop.’

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