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Hunt is on

Hunt is on

Sources say that Lansley did not expect to be removed from his post, says Victoria Vaughan


Opinion among leaders in the health sector is divided about whether Andrew Lansley's unceremonious demotion from his role as Secretary of State for Health was predictable or not. 


Yes, it was mooted during the listening exercise of 2011 and indeed seemed likely as the PM stepped in for a spell to try and sell the Health and Social Care Bill. 


He has certainly taken up many column inches and tweets of criticism over the last two years, and to say communication was not his strong point would be an understatement, but why is a new team brought in now when the Act is passed and the detail of implementation - Lansley's forte - begins?


Sources tell me that Lansley didn't see this coming. Having done the job for ten years in shadow and in Government and finally seeing his long-discussed plan put into action, not being able to see it through must be quite a blow. 


I doubt we'll see much change of direction from Jeremy Hunt and I doubt critics of the Act will be distracted by a new man at the top for very long.


His inbox includes the Francis report, revalidation, the pensions row and not to mention his night-time reading - the Act itself. I wonder if he'll have Lansley on speed dial to ask him to translate?


There is no doubt that a major part of Hunt's brief must be to better communicate with the NHS  but if he doesn't have the knowledge to back that up he'll be swiftly shot down. His best tactic is humility and to listen to what NHS workers are saying.


No doubt there is a charm offensive in the air and we will hear about early successes of clinical commission groups (CCGs), anecdotes and case studies of CCGs which have saved money while improving patients' care. 


But the smoke and mirrors will be swept aside in the New Year when we find out how many CCGs are fit for purpose and how many will have conditions or will be established but not authorised.


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