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Jeremy Hunt to chair health committee

Jeremy Hunt has been elected as chair of the health and social care select committee.

The former health secretary will head up the committee of MPs which scrutinises the performance of the NHS and government health policy.

Mr Hunt said he was ‘honoured’ to be elected, saying he would be pressing the government to move quickly to build a cross-party consensus for a funding settlement for care for the elderly.

‘Over nearly a decade in frontline politics, the NHS has always been my greatest political passion, and I am honoured to have been elected Chair of the Health and Social Care Select Committee.

‘For my last six months as health secretary, social care was formally added to my responsibilities but it was not long enough to bring forward reforms or – more crucially – a funding settlement for social care.

‘I’ll also focus on making faster progress on mental health & patient safety; recent maternity scandals show we can never be complacent. I look forward to working with my committee to provide a strong, independent voice that supports NHS staff and patients in a very pressured period’

Niall Dickson, chief executive of the NHS Confederation, welcomed Mr Hunt’s support for social care reform in England.

‘We welcome Jeremy’s appointment as chair of the health and social care committee and look forward to working with him and the rest of the committee on the pressing priorities faced by our members.

‘Health leaders have been clear that workforce gaps, the growing social care crisis, NHS pensions and underinvestment in capital are having a damaging knock-on impact on the NHS and patient care.

‘Jeremy has recognised that the NHS faces a period of significant pressure and his experience will play an invaluable role in scrutinising how the government tackles these challenges.

‘We had a strong working relationship with Jeremy during his tenure as the longest-serving secretary of state for health. We particularly welcome his support for social care reform in England and his recognition that it needs a new long term funding settlement – something that he acknowledges he was unable to deliver when he was health secretary.’

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