Jeremy Hunt has become the longest serving Health Secretary after five years and 274 days in the job.
Hunt, who was appointed in 2012, tweeted on Monday to say it has been “a privilege” and thanked the NHS. (full tweet below)
He said: “Sometimes time has flown, at others it’s been achingly slow, but every second of last 5+ yrs has been a privilege. Thanks #NHS for being extraordinary in so many ways.”
Looking back at the past five years, Hunt has been a high profile figure in the media for his role in changing the junior doctors contract – a controversial move which damaged his reputation among medical staff.
However, he has also pushed for technological improvements within the NHS.
As part of the 70th anniversary of the NHS in 2018, Hunt said the health system needs a cash injection in order to fund “ambitious” ideas which will help to “lead a revolution worldwide” in regard to using technology in healthcare.
Writing for The Telegraph, Hunt said: “The NHS came to define what a 20th-century healthcare system should look like. Could we use the power of technology to define a 21st century healthcare system as well? That is the opportunity, and I have no doubt our NHS will once again rise to the challenge.”
In September 2017, he also announced a series of new promises on online access to healthcare information, with a view to ensuring the next 10 years come to be known as the NHS’s “patient power decade”.
However more recently, Hunt’s time has been more turbulent with the announcement that an IT error may have been the reason why the lives of up to 270 women in England were shortened after they failed to receive their final routine breast cancer screening invitation.
Hunt said the affected group of women were not sent invitations before their 71st birthday because “there was a computer algorithm failure”, which dated back to 2009.