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Jeremy Hunt’s new department: major overhaul or window dressing?

BMJ 2018; 360 doi: (Published 16 January 2018) Cite this as: BMJ 2018;360:k208
  1. Gareth Iacobucci
  1. The BMJ

Will a change in the health department’s name bring the true integration of health and social care that has so far eluded ministers? Gareth Iacobucci tests the water

When Jeremy Hunt emerged from Number 10 Downing Street on 8 January with not just his job intact but an expanded brief,1 many observers were surprised. With the NHS in the grip of a winter crisis, it was believed that the prime minister would use her cabinet reshuffle to sweep a new broom through the Department of Health for England.

Instead, the erstwhile secretary of state for health exited Downing Street as the new secretary of state for health and social care, heading up the rebranded Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC). Rumours circulated that Hunt had dug in his heels, refused Theresa May’s bid to move him to the Department for Business, and convinced her to keep him on health. Did Hunt also ask for social care? Given that he has previously shown little interest in reforming social care—in October he was criticised for failing to mention it …

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