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Hunt will prioritise diabetes and childhood obesity

Jeremy Hunt's first priority is going to be a national strategy on diabetes and childhood obesity, he said at a conference yesterday.

Hunt, the secretary of state for health, said that he will start a “big new public health agenda around obesity and diabetes”, at the fifth annual leadership and management summit by the King's Fund in west London.

“Childhood obesity is a great scandal. The fact that one in five children leave primary school clinically obese is something that we cannot say that we accept.”

Hunt mentioned his plans for general practice: “I also want to have a very big focus on general practice, which I think is perhaps one of the most de-moralised parts of the NHS at the moment.”

He mentioned the need to “find a way of empowering general practice”, reduce burnout, and improve the capacity of general practice and the numbers of GPs.

Hunt also said he aims to continue his pre-election plan to improve access to cancer care and to continue to make UK hospitals the “safest in the world”.

In terms of budgets, he said: “I hope everyone appreciates the significance of the prime minister choosing the NHS for his first major speech post the election. I think we are very committed to implementing the Five Year Forward View, but I think the debate now does need to move onto whether politicians are prepared to come up with the extra money.”

“In part that £8bn will come from cuts in other government departments and you have to understand that there is only so much that the NHS can reasonably ask for in that context.“

Other plans he mentioned were greater transparency in the quality of care available, and peer-reviewed rather than top-down change.