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Jeremy Hunt to remain as health secretary following election

by Carolyn Wickware
12 June 2017

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Following the election in which Theresa May lost the Conservative majority, Jeremy Hunt has been reappointed as health secretary for a record third time.

Mr Hunt, who entered 10 Downing Street wearing his NHS lapel pin shortly after 4pm yesterday afternoon, was confirmed in his position nearly an hour later.

Having previously been quoted as saying that his would be his ‘last big job in politics’, Hunt will have held the position for five years this September – the longest serving health secretary.

However the health secretary will be forced to select new health ministers after two out of three, David Mowat and Nicola Blackwood, lost their seats in last week’s general election.

In the election, Mr Hunt saw a 4.1% decrease in his majority in his South West Surrey constituency.

Mr Hunt was up against local GP, Dr Louise Irvine, who stood for the National Health Action party and saw an 11.5% increase in her votes from the 2015 election.

Leaders in healthcare have praised the ‘valuable continuity’ and experience in his reappointment ‘at a time of enormous challenge for the NHS’.

The chief executive of NHS Providers, Chris Hopson, said: ‘He has already made an important contribution in this role, particularly through his commitment to improving patient safety. We look forward to working with him and his ministerial team.’

However, Mr Hopson outlined five priorities for the health secretary, including better winter planning, ensuring more NHS funding in 2017 Budget and addressing workforce challenges.

Niall Dickson, chief executive of the NHS Confederation, said: ‘We look forward to continuing to work with Jeremy Hunt and would like to congratulate him on his reappointment as Secretary of State for Health.

‘This will provide continuity at a difficult and uncertain time for the country in general and for the NHS in particular.’