‘He would be out of his depth in a puddle if it ever rained again’: Twitter users deliver their scathing verdict on the appointment of Matt Hancock as new Health and Social Care Secretary
- Jeremy Hunt has become the new Foreign Secretary in the cabinet reshuffle
- Former Culture Secretary Matt Hancock took over Mr Hunt’s record reign
- Social media erupted at the news, as Theresa May moved to steady the ship
- Mr Hunt’s five-year reign has seen him weather a series of political storms
- His departure was described as the ‘best birthday present’ for the NHS
Jeremy Hunt last night became the new Foreign Secretary, spelling the end of the longest-serving Health Secretary.
Former Culture Secretary Matt Hancock took over the reign at the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) in the cabinet reshuffle.
Social media erupted at the news, as Prime Minister Theresa May moved to steady the ship as she continues to fight for her political life.
Mr Hunt’s reign has seen him weather a series of political storms and also some of the worst performance statistics on record.
Twitter users described Mr Hunt’s promotion as the ‘best birthday present’ for the NHS, following its celebrations for its 70th year of existence last week.
Others cruelly mocked Mr Hancock, joking he would be ‘out of his depth in a puddle if it ever rained again’, in reference to the heatwave across Britain.
England manager Gareth Southgate and heroic goalkeeper Jordan Pickford were even beckoned by football fans to take over Mr Hunt’s role to ‘save’ the NHS.
Jeremy Hunt (left) last night became the new Foreign Secretary, spelling the end of the longest-serving Health Secretary. Former Culture Secretary Matt Hancock (right) took over the reign at the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) in the cabinet reshuffle
Author and journalist J.N. Paquet posted an embarrassing video of Mr Hancock behind Prime Minister Theresa May in the House of Commons.
In the clip, the MP for West Sussex can be seen sitting back, looking towards the ceiling and pulling faces with his eyebrows and eyes.
While another Twitter user wrote: ‘Matt Hancock would be out of his depth in a puddle if it ever rained again.
Dr Langtry Doge posted a GIF of a man taking a fall after trying parkour in an office, saying this is what it will look like when Mr Hancock arrives at the DHSC.
It is believed to be a joke reference to Mr Hancock posting videos of himself trying parkour on his own Twitter account earlier this month.
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Comedian Adam Kay, who used to work as a junior doctor, was among those who poked fun at Mr Hunt’s departure from the DHSC.
He tweeted: ‘May I be the first to congratulate Jeremy Hunt on his new job. The NHS could not have asked for a better birthday present.’
Dr Ranj Sing, resident doctor on ITV’s This Morning, also joined in, with a reference to the Wizard of Oz song, Ding Dong! The Witch Is Dead.
Mr Hunt was responsible for a controversial contract for junior doctors in England that sparked the biggest walk-out of doctors in NHS history in 2016.
And Mr Hunt was forced to cancel tens of thousands of operations this winter as hospitals delayed non-urgent operations to try and ease the unprecedented crisis.
While another Twitter user wrote: ‘Matt Hancock would be out of his depth in a puddle if it ever rained again’
Dr Langtry Doge posted a GIF of a man taking a fall after trying parkour in an office, saying this is what it will look like when Mr Hancock arrives at the DHSC
Author and journalist J.N. Paquet posted an embarrassing video of Mr Hancock behind Theresa May in the House of Commons
WHO ARE THE 3 LONGEST-SERVING HEALTH SECRETARIES?
1. Jeremy Hunt – Conservative
4 Sept 2012 – present – 5 years 274 days (on June 4)
2. Norman Fowler – Conservative
14 Sept 1981 – 13 Jun 1987 – 5 years 273 days
3. Aneurin Bevan – Labour
3 Aug 1945 – 17 Jan 1951 – 5 years 167 days
Waiting-time performances in A&E units hit their lowest level in 14 years last winter – even worse than the previous winter, which was branded a ‘humanitarian crisis’.
Staff described patients ‘dying prematurely’ in corridors before they were seen as furious medics begged for extra funding to cope with the pressure.
Kirran Ahmad, who claims to have been working on an NHS intensive care unit in London last night, said everyone around him was ‘celebrating’ Mr Hunt’s departure.
NHS GP Dr Benjamin Janaway tweeted: ‘Looking forward to Jeremy Hunt alienating an even greater population.’
A member on the board of directors at MedGlobal – a charity that provides free healthcare to refugees – poked fun at Mr Hunt leaving the DHSC.
Known only as Naveed, they tweeted a GIF of several medics dancing in a corridor, with the caption: ‘When news of Jeremy Hunt’s departure reached NHS hospitals.’
A satirical account called Stansaid Airport joked about record-waiting times in the NHS under Mr Hunt’s reign.
In the tweet, which attracted tens of retweets and likes, the account wrote: ‘Please leave enough time to go through security.
‘Now Jeremy Hunt is Foreign Secretary, it can take up to three months to get an X-ray for your hand luggage.’
And NHS Million, a group ran by staff in the health service, wrote ‘thank your lucky stars it’s over’ in response to Mr Hunt’s promotion.
WHAT ARE SOME OF THE BIGGEST CHALLENGES JEREMY HUNT HAS FACED?
1. Doctor strikes
A controversial new contract for junior doctors in England sparked the biggest walk-out of doctors in the history of the NHS in 2016.
Proposals for a truly seven-day health service were central to the bitter dispute, with medics concerned about patient safety and the mounting pressure it could place on their working lives and morale.
Tens of thousands of operations and appointments were cancelled and rearranged as a result of strikes throughout the year.
Years of austerity means ‘the dramatic improvements made in health care over the last 20 years are at risk of slipping away,’ said Chris Ham, chief executive of The King’s Fund.
Leading think tanks said last year that NHS funding will be at one of the lowest rates in its history as funding growth slowed to 0.4%.
The Health Foundation, The King’s Fund and the Nuffield Trust estimated there would be a funding gap of about £20 billion in five years based on spending levels in 2017/18 – calling for a 4.3 per cent average annual increase to keep pace with demographic pressures and an ageing society.
3. Winter pressures
Waiting-time performances in accident-and-emergency departments hit their lowest level in 14 years last winter, with staff describing patients ‘dying prematurely’ in corridors before they are seen.
Rising numbers of flu cases and respiratory illness saw an increase in hospital admissions, with A&E heads warning Theresa May of ‘intolerable’ pressures.
Tens of thousands had surgery cancelled in England as hospitals delayed non-urgent operations to try and ease the crisis.
4. Accusations of privatisation
Mr Hunt has faced claims of wanting to privatise parts of the health service from critics.
Professor Stephen Hawking backed campaigners taking legal action over plans to ‘Americanise’ the NHS last year.
The physicist said he wanted to stop commercial companies being used to run certain services, saying he was concerned so-called accountable care organisations were ‘an attack on the fundamental principles of the NHS’.
The Health Secretary said the scientist was wrong to claim the health service was edging towards privatisation, calling claims of a US-style system a ‘most pernicious falsehood’.
5. Abortion comments
Mr Hunt displayed ‘complete ignorance’ when he made comments about abortion time limits when he first took up his post, leading doctors said.
In 2012, he generated controversy after saying he felt 12 weeks after conception was ‘the right point’ for the limit on abortion, which currently stands at 24 weeks.
Mr Hunt turned down Prime Minister Theresa May’s offer of the business brief in a Government Cabinet reshuffle earlier this year – insisting instead on an expanded health and social care role.
Comedian Adam Kay, who used to work as a junior doctor, was among those who poked fun at Mr Hunt’s departure from the DHSC
Dr Ranj Sing, resident doctor on ITV’s This Morning, also joined in, with a reference to the Wizard of Oz song, Ding Dong! The Witch Is Dead
Kirran Ahmad, who claims to have been working on an NHS intensive care unit in London last night, said everyone around him was ‘celebrating’ Mr Hunt’s departure
NHS GP Dr Benjamin Janaway tweeted: ‘Looking forward to Jeremy Hunt alienating an even greater population’
A member on the board of directors at MedGlobal – a charity that provides free healthcare to refugees – poked fun at Mr Hunt leaving the DHSC
A satirical account called Stansaid Airport joked about record-waiting times in the NHS under Mr Hunt’s reign
And NHS Million, a group ran by staff in the health service, wrote ‘thank your lucky stars it’s over’ in response to Mr Hunt’s promotion
DID LEADING DOCTORS WELCOME MR HANCOCK?
Leading doctors welcomed new Health and Social Care Secretary Matt Hancock to the role, but reminded him of the challenge he faces.
Dr Chaand Nagpaul, chairman of council at the British Medical Association, said: ‘We congratulate Mr Hancock on his appointment and look forward to working constructively with him on the development of health policies to ensure safe, high-quality patient care.
‘While there is a new secretary of state, the challenges the health service faces remain the same – patients are facing longer waits for care, so-called “winter pressures” in the NHS are now hitting the service all year round, and it lacks doctors, nurses, and beds.
‘This appointment comes at a crucial time for the health service and doctors want to see the new secretary of state put the NHS on a sustainable footing for the future, address the serious funding shortfall and ensure we can recruit and retain the right number of doctors, with the right support and infrastructure, to deliver high-quality care for patients.’
Niall Dickson, chief executive of the NHS Confederation, said: ‘The great survivor as health secretary has moved on.
‘His legacy will be a better settlement for health than many had expected and a real focus on patient safety.
‘He inherited a tangled mess of a reorganisation from his predecessor and he had to live with a succession of austere funding settlements which were never going to meet rising demand.
‘Given so little to play with, Hunt deserves credit for helping to keep the show on the road, but the health service, better in many ways, has also slipped back when it comes to meeting many of its core standards.
‘His successor has one overwhelming challenge, how to help the NHS and the social care system to become sustainable in the face of rising demand and a severe workforce crisis.’
Dr Nick Scriven, president of the Society for Acute Medicine, added: ‘The jury will be out on the new health secretary to see if he is able to put his financial skills to good use and ensure adequate funding and appropriate use of resources for the NHS in the coming months and years.’
Football fans even found a way to mention England manager Gareth Southgate, who has been praised for his heroics at the World Cup.
England have reached their first semi final in the prestigious tournament since 1990, as they get set for a tense showdown against Croatia tomorrow night.
One inventive Twitter user captioned a GIF of the manager applauding fans ‘live scenes of Southgate finding out Jeremy Hunt is no longer health secretary’.
While another wrote: ‘Time for the next Gareth Southgate miracle please – save our NHS as the new secretary of state for health.’
Another asked if England captain Harry Kane could become foreign secretary and goalkeeper Jordan Pickford, praised for his excellent saves, put in charge of the NHS.
One inventive Twitter user captioned a GIF of the manager applauding fans ‘live scenes of Southgate finding out Jeremy Hunt is no longer health secretary’
While another wrote: ‘Time for the next Gareth Southgate miracle please – save our NHS as the new secretary of state for health’
Another asked if England captain Harry Kane could become foreign secretary and goalkeeper Jordan Pickford, praised for his excellent saves, put in charge of the NHS
WAS THERE ANY PRAISE FOR MR HUNT?
Parents who lost their children in NHS scandals led the praise of Jeremy Hunt as he moved offices across Whitehall.
As Mr Hunt prepared to move from the Department of Health and Social Care to the Foreign Office, Melissa Mead and James Titcombe paid tribute to Mr Hunt’s work on patient safety.
Ms Mead, whose son William died in December 2014 of sepsis following a string on NHS blunders, wrote on Twitter: ‘I hope you’ll pass on your enthusiasm for £sepsis management and awareness to @MattHancock thank you for listening to us and giving William a voice.’
James Titcombe – whose son Joshua died after suffering pneumococcal septicaemia and a lung haemorrhage on November 5 2008, nine days after he was born at Furness General Hospital in Cumbria – also praised Mr Hunt.
He wrote: ‘Thank you for all you have done – your work has made a huge difference to patient safety and your personal support has made a huge difference to me.’
Mr Hunt said that it was a ‘massive wrench’ to leave health, adding that patient safety had become his ‘passion’.
However, not all remarks on Twitter praised the work of Mr Hunt – who even conceded himself that ‘some staff haven’t found me the easiest Health Sec’.
Palliative care doctor Rachel Clarke wrote: ‘1. He “went nuclear” on junior doctors; 2. He let patients die on trolleys in corridors; 3. He created an NHS “humanitarian crisis” at winter; 4. He culled 7000 hospital beds – and allowed surgery wait lists to rise by 1.4m… The unforgettable, shameful legacy of Jeremy ‘NHS’ Hunt.’
Elderly care and acute medicine physician Dr Philip Lee added: ‘To be fair, Jeremy Hunt’s career reminds me of my own. Accidentally ending up with positions of greater responsibility without quite knowing how.’
And Labour was heavily critical of the new Foreign Secretary.
Shadow health minister Justin Madders said: ‘Jeremy Hunt has overseen the worst collapse in patient standards of any Health Secretary in the history of the NHS.
‘His time in charge will be remembered for soaring waiting lists, huge staffing shortages, and patients left with treatments rationed and operations cancelled in record numbers.
‘It is an astonishing measure of the meltdown at the heart of the Tory Government that this catalogue of failure is rewarded with promotion rather than the sack.’
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