He’s driven the NHS to the brink of extinction, but Jeremy Hunt is set to be promoted [TWEETS]

Jeremy Hunt GP NHS
Mark Turley

Prime Minister Theresa May will attempt to boost her failing government with a cabinet reshuffle on 8 January. A quarter of her cabinet are expected to be moved or sacked. And there are many people up and down the country hoping that Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt is one of them.

A record of failure

Hunt became Health Secretary in 2012. Since then, he has repeatedly clashed with NHS staff and overseen a series of crises. At present, the NHS endures mass closures, cancelled operations and patients forced to lie on floors. The original government position was to deny this. On 4 January, Hunt finally admitted it. Anguished hospital staff have made their feelings clear.

Wishes granted?

Indications suggest those hoping for an end to Hunt’s tenure as Health Secretary will get their wish. But in a controversial move, Prime Minister Theresa May looks set to promote him to Deputy Prime Minister, replacing Damian Green.

https://twitter.com/ToryFibs/status/949636277846110208

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Many have pointed out that rewarding a Health Secretary for bringing the NHS to its knees is a strange decision.

The promotion, if it comes, appears to vindicate those who believe Tory austerity policies have been a process of ‘privatisation by the back door’.

After all, in 2005 Hunt co-authored a book with eventual UKIP MP Douglas Carswell and others, called Direct Democracy: An Agenda for a New Model Party. This argued for privatisation of the NHS.

And now?

Those hoping for a better future for our health service look set to be disappointed. Favourite to replace Hunt is former nurse Anne Milton. While the appointment of someone with hospital experience seems sensible, some are worried about Milton’s links. Her husband, Graham Henderson, is listed as a senior executive at Richard Branson’s Virgin Care. Virgin Care has been aggressively pursuing NHS contracts in recent years.

Quite simply, while the Tories cling on to power, our National Health Service remains in grave danger.

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