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Nurses' dismay as Jeremy Hunt stays on as health secretary

Health secretary Jeremy Hunt keeps his job in a surprise move by new prime minister Theresa May
Jeremy Hunt

Jeremy Hunt has kept his job as health secretary in a shake-up of the cabinet by new prime minister Theresa May.

Rumours abounded earlier today that Mr Hunt was set to lose the position he has held since 2012.

But Mr Hunt smiled broadly for the cameras as he left Downing Street, later tweeting: ‘Reports of my death have been greatly exaggerated...Thrilled to be back in the best job in government.'

Disappointment

Nurses also took to social media to express their surprise at the news, with retired specialist matron Lorraine Jeffs tweeting: ‘How disappointing Hunt is to remain in. What happened?’

Community nurse Drew Payne said: ’Keeping Hunt at health shows how low down Theresa May's priority list is the NHS when she keeps such a useless minister in post.’

Former nursing student Grant Byrne wrote: ‘I imagine his priorities and that of NHS professionals

Jeremy Hunt has kept his job as health secretary in a shake-up of the cabinet by new prime minister Theresa May.

Rumours abounded earlier today that Mr Hunt was set to lose the position he has held since 2012.

But Mr Hunt smiled broadly for the cameras as he left Downing Street, later tweeting: ‘Reports of my death have been greatly exaggerated...Thrilled to be back in the best job in government.'

Disappointment

Nurses also took to social media to express their surprise at the news, with retired specialist matron Lorraine Jeffs tweeting: ‘How disappointing Hunt is to remain in. What happened?’

Community nurse Drew Payne said: ’Keeping Hunt at health shows how low down Theresa May's priority list is the NHS when she keeps such a useless minister in post.’

Former nursing student Grant Byrne wrote: ‘I imagine his priorities and that of NHS professionals will differ as per usual. Set for turmoil.’

Controversies

During his tenure as health secretary, Mr Hunt has clashed with nursing unions over pay, and over proposals to scrap bursaries for nursing students from August 2017.

He has also been at the helm of unsuccessful contract negotiations with junior doctors, leading to a series of unprecedented strikes earlier this year.

Stability

News that Mr Hunt was staying on was welcomed by NHS Confederation chief executive Stephen Dalton, who said the move would provide stability in political leadership at a critical time for the health service.

However Chris Ham, chief executive of health thinktank the King’s Fund, warned Mr Hunt faced 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,' he added.

'This means reviewing current priorities and avoiding making new commitments which cannot be funded.'

Last major role

Earlier in the year, Mr Hunt told Radio 4’s Today programme that his brief as health secretary would be his last major political role. 

‘This is likely to be my last big job in politics,' he said.

'The one thing that will keep me awake is if I didn’t do the right thing to help make the NHS one of the safest, highest quality healthcare systems in the world. Health secretaries are never popular.'

 

 

 

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