The departure of Jeremy Hunt as health and social care secretary and the appointment of Matt Hancock, formerly digital, culture, media and sport secretary as a result of the cabinet reshuffle triggered by the resignations of Brexit secretary David Davis and foreign secretary Boris Johnson has, unsurprisingly, generated quite the Twitter response.
Niall Dickson, chief executive of NHS Confederation, tweeted a reaction that included praise for Mr Hunt, despite the barrage of criticism he faced during his tenure as health secretary – a remit that was extended to also include social care in in January this year.
Longest serving Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt moves to the Foreign Office – he’ll do well to beat Howe, Hurd or Grey there! For all the criticism, he played a tough NHS hand well and fought hard for more money.
— Niall Dickson (@NHSC_Niall) July 9, 2018
In its response, the BMA highlighted that Mr Hancock is taking over the reigns for health and social care at pivotal point for the health and care sector.
Congratulations @MattHancock on his new role as Health and Social Care Sec. His appointment comes at a crucial time for the NHS; we will continue to work together to put it on sustainable footing for the future that will improve outcomes and conditions for both patients and staff
— The BMA (@TheBMA) July 9, 2018
In a tweet posted before the official confirmation of Mr Hunt’s transition to the foreign secretary role, Kailash Chand, honorary vice president of the BMA commented:
A strong rumour @Jeremy_Hunt could be new foreign secretary. Blessing in disguise for the #NHS70Birthday .
— Dr Kailash Chand OBE (@KailashChandOBE) July 9, 2018
Dr Ben White, part of the campaign group JR4NHS, was one of many to draw attention to the link between the new health and social care secretary and free-market think-tank Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA).
In 2016 it was revealed that Mr Hancock, then minister for the cabinet office, had accepted donations by Neil Record, chairman of IEA.
This included a £4,000 donation made months before introducing a controversial new regulation preventing charities from using public grants to lobby government – drawing on research by the IEA, which backed the rule change.
I’m really looking forward to seeing full declaration of links between Matt Hancock, the new health Secretary, and free market group IEA London (who wish to dismantle the NHS)
— Dr Ben White (@drbenwhite) July 10, 2018
Dr Sonia Adesara tweeted her belief that the new health and social care secretary will not change the current course for the NHS:
The ideologically driven undermining of #OurNHS will continue
It will continue to be driven to the ground
Fragmentation, outsourcing & backdoor #privatisation will continue
We need a govt – who believe in #OurNHS & the #Socialist values that underpin it#nhs70 #GE2018Now
— Dr Sonia Adesara (@SoniaAdesara) July 10, 2018
Mr Hancock himself shared his enthusiasm for his new role in cabinet:
Really looking forward to joining @DHSCgovuk at such an important time for our great NHS. I can’t wait to get started
— Matt Hancock (@MattHancock) July 9, 2018
Departing health and social care secretary Mr Hunt, who is the country’s longest-serving health secretary to date, tweeted that it had been ‘a privilege’ to do the job for so long:
Massive wrench for me to leave health – I know some staff haven’t found me the easiest Health Sec 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
— Jeremy Hunt (@Jeremy_Hunt) July 9, 2018