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Jeremy Hunt: Farewell to the great survivor

BMJ 2018; 362 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.k3045 (Published 10 July 2018) Cite this as: BMJ 2018;362:k3045

Opinion

From Hunt to Hancock—a changing of the guard?

  1. Gareth Iacobucci
  1. The BMJ

So it turns out health wasn’t his “last big job in politics” after all.1

Five years, 10 months, and five days since being appointed to lead the Department of Health for England,2 Jeremy Hunt finally left the building. After a chaotic day in Westminster that saw three ministers resign over the government’s Brexit policy, Hunt was dramatically promoted to replace the departing Boris Johnson as foreign secretary. Matt Hancock, formerly culture secretary, moves to health.3

Hunt was typically emollient in his departing tweet: “Massive wrench for me to leave health—I know some staff haven’t found me the easiest health secretary but the NHS, and particularly patient safety, has become my passion & it really was the greatest privilege of my life to serve for so many years.”4

But what will his lasting legacy be?

When he was appointed in September 2012 Hunt’s immediate task was to keep the NHS off the front pages after the mess caused by his predecessor, Andrew Lansley, with his ill fated Health and Social Care Bill. On this, Hunt largely succeeded, using his political deftness to steer the narrative towards a patient safety agenda after Robert …

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