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Andy Burnham MP, Labour’s Shadow Health Secretary, in response to the appointment of Jeremy Hunt as Secretary of State for Health, said:

"The NHS was supposed to be the Prime Minister’s number one priority. Swapping one failed Minister with poor judgment for another is a strange way to show that.

"Right now, the NHS needs somebody who believes in its values and is ready to stand up for it. Instead, the Prime Minister has given it the man who reportedly tried to remove the NHS tribute from the Opening Ceremony of the Olympic Games.

"NHS staff fearful of the Government’s drive to open up the NHS to full competition will take no comfort whatsoever to find a man in charge who, in his last job, bent over backwards to promote powerful private-sector interests.

"Andrew Lansley’s crime was supposed to be his failure to communicate his reforms. What the Prime Minister doesn’t understand is it is the NHS policies that are wrong, not the way he is selling them. Appointing a ‘yes-man’ to run the NHS will not bring the change of direction in health policy that patients and staff are desperately hoping for. Judging by his record, it may make matters worse.

"I welcome the new Secretary of State to his role but I serve notice to him today that, unless he removes the threat to the NHS from his Government’s policies, he will face the same opposition as his predecessor."

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