Reaction as Jeremy Hunt remains health secretary after cabinet shake-up

Health secretary Jeremy Hunt confirmed via Twitter on Thursday that he was delighted to remain in the 'best job in government', after reports that he was to be sacked or moved to a new role. Find out below how doctors and health organisations reacted to the news.

After more than an hour of speculation and widespread reports that Mr Hunt was to be moved out of the DH, the health secretary confirmed via social media that reports of his sacking had been 'greatly exaggerated'.

The tweet brought a wave of disappointed responses, in particular from junior doctors who had been celebrating reports of Mr Hunt's departure, just days after rejecting a new contract that the health secretary now plans to impose.

Junior doctors

Former BMA junior doctors committee chairman Dr Johann Malawana was among those who reacted to the health secretary's confirmation he was to remain in post.

NHS Confederation chief executive Stephen Dalton welcomed the decision to retain the health secretary in his post. 'I would like to congratulate Jeremy Hunt on his reappointment and I look forward to continuing to work with him. This continuity provides stability in political leadership at a critical time for the health services where the focus must be on transformation for the benefit of patients.'

King's Fund chief executive Chris Ham said: ‘Jeremy Hunt faces some formidable challenges. He is on record as saying the NHS will need more money and he must now lead an honest debate with the public about what the health service can deliver with its budget. This means reviewing current priorities and avoiding making new commitments which cannot be funded.

NHS funding

‘Tackling the growing crisis in social care will be a key test of the prime minister’s promise of a country that works for everyone and must move much higher up his agenda. He must reignite the stalled debate on funding reform and make the case to his cabinet colleagues for it to be a key priority for the government.'

Mr Ham added that the health secretary would need to support 'radical changes to NHS services' and make the case for 'a new settlement for health and social care that provides adequate funding to meet current and future needs', while seeking to rebuild trust with the medical profession.

BMA chairman Dr Mark Porter said: 'We remain committed to continuing our work with Mr Hunt on the development of health policies to assure the quality of patient care.

'There are extremely difficult decisions ahead and doctors need to play a central role in shaping the delivery of healthcare. More than ever we need a period of stability and a working environment that encourages partnership and co-operation.

'We also still need to agree a contract for junior doctors in which they have confidence and I urge Mr Hunt to build on the progress that has been made so far to address outstanding issues and regain trust from junior doctors, who are the future of the profession.

'We need a long term strategy that addresses the workload and funding challenges that are overwhelming the NHS.'

The most recently appointed member of parliament, Labour MP for Tooting Dr Rosena Allin-Khan - a junior doctor who worked in A&E - was among those critical of the health secretary as his appointment was confirmed.

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