NHS crisis: Five problems Jeremy Hunt has left for his successor to deal with

He served for five years and 308 days as health secretary – a long time in politics – but Jeremy Hunt’s record breaking tenure saw him oversee a notable funding and staffing crisis.

However, his final act of securing a £20bn budget increase for health by 2023 was better than many dared hope for – though less than experts said was needed.

His successor, Matt Hancock, joins at a turning point in the health service’s fortunes and Mr Hunt has left more than a few problems for his successor at the Department of Health and Social Care.

Here The Independent looks at the issues he might face.

More than 1.4 million people over the age of 65 are currently unable to access support despite having an identified need for assistance with basic tasks like getting dressed and washing, the charity Age UK revealed earlier this week.

Jeremy Hunt has pledged 5,000 more GPs by 2020 and 25 per cent increases in places for trainee nurses and doctors during this parliament.

But “grim” workforce figures published by the NHS in February laid bare the challenge with 100,000 NHS posts unfilled in hospitals, ambulance and mental health trusts alone.

In March Labour analysis found the number of people waiting more than four hours in A&E each month has increased by 842 per cent under Jeremy Hunt’s tenure.

The recently introduced “sugar tax” of sweetened drinks is a major part of the government’s plans to address a crisis of childhood obesity and Type 2 diabetes, which accounts for 10 per cent of NHS spending.

However many community schemes have been lost in recent years, along with cuts to smoking cessation schemes, addiction services and sexual health clinics.

Mr Hunt had to concede his “paperless NHS by 2018” pledge had been missed, but as the only MP to develop his own app, Mr Hancock arrives in the nick of time – and just before the health service launches its own app for booking GP appointments and viewing patient records.


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