Hunt stays as health secretary, with added remit of social care

After intense speculation of a move in prime minister’s cabinet reshuffle, health secretary emerges with bigger portfolio as secretary of state for health and social care
Jeremy Hunt

Jeremy Hunt now has responsibility for social care in addition to health, following a tense cabinet reshuffle by the prime minister today.

Jeremy Hunt emerged from the reshuffle with an expanded role taking in health and social care.

Mr Hunt, who has been in post for five and half years, becomes secretary of state for health and social care.

The announcement of his expanded role followed a day of intense speculation over whether he was to leave health and become first secretary of state and minister for the cabinet office – in effect deputy prime minister.

Integration of services

However, Mr Hunt emerged from Downing Street with a larger portfolio, intended to improve integration of health and social care services.

As health secretary, Mr Hunt has pushed this agenda through sustainability and transformation plans in England.

The majority of social care is currently delivered or commissioned by local authorities, which have seen huge cuts to their budgets over the past seven years.

It is thought better integration will reduce delayed discharges and free up beds in acute hospitals.

Speculation of move

Mr Hunt, who has been in his current ministerial post since September 2012, had been tipped to replace Damien Green, who resigned from first secretary of state and minister for the cabinet office in December amid a scandal.

Earlier, it had been rumoured trained nurse Anne Milton would replace Mr Hunt if he received a promotion to the de facto deputy role.

In other changes, Lewes Conservative MP and registered nurse Maria Caulfield was promoted to Conservative Council Headquarters vice-chair for women.

Her appointment prompted immediate criticism from the Labour Party’s shadow women and equalities minister Dawn Butler over Ms Caulfield’s views on abortion.

Ms Caulfield, who was critical of a campaign to decriminalise abortion last year, tweeted her delight at her appointment.

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