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Jeremy Hunt admits he 'failed' by not fixing social care when he was Health Sec

16 May 2022, 19:13 | Updated: 16 May 2022, 19:40

By Daisy Stephens

Jeremy Hunt has told LBC's Tonight with Andrew Marr of his regrets about his time as Health Secretary, admitting he "failed" at fixing social care.

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When asked what he would do now if he was Health Secretary, having learnt everything he has now, Mr Hunt said "it's a long list".

"I wish that I had secured a ten year plan to transform the social care system in the way that I did for the NHS," he went on.

Watch Tonight with Andrew Marr exclusively on Global Player every Monday to Thursday from 6pm to 7pm.

"I argued hard for it but I failed, and I think some of the problems that you're reporting, you know, even this week the fact that it's sometimes taking an hour for ambulances to get to someone with a stroke, they are partly because of a lack of capacity in hospitals who can't discharge people because there isn't a social care package available."

Mr Hunt served as Health Secretary from 2012 to 2018 - the longest of any other MP to hold the position.

You can also listen to the podcast Tonight with Andrew Marr only on Global Player.

The South West Surrey MP has written a book titled 'Zero: Eliminating preventable harm and tragedy in the NHS'.

He talked about the need for greater transparency to allow the NHS to learn from its failings.

"[The NHS is] not good at learning from mistakes," he said.

"When things go wrong, for example a baby dies - incredibly traumatic for the doctors, the nurses - the one thing everyone wants to do is to be open and transparent and learn [from] mistakes [but] we make that virtually impossible."

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He said NHS staff such as doctors, nurses and midwives are "worried they'll get fired" if they make a mistake.

"If you or I make a mistake in our work, generally someone doesn't die," he went on.

"But they are brave enough to do a job where that can happen, and so really it's about the culture that we have to change in healthcare systems around the world so that death doesn't become normalised but - more like in other industries, like the nuclear industry, the airline industry - where you properly learn every time something goes wrong."

Mr Hunt also talked about the possibility of running to be Prime Minister after Boris Johnson.

"I have never hidden the fact that I might well have a crack [at being Prime Minister] if the time [is right]," he said.

"But I do need to say I don't think now is the right moment."

He said the conflict in Ukraine "does put everything else into perspective".

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When talking about the kind of Prime Minister he would be, he said: "I certainly do believe in enterprise and business, I set up my own business, but I also was Health Secretary for a long time and I know that the NHS needs money.

"It needed more money when I was there, it's going to go on needing more money... how do you marry more money for vital public services, the prospect of lower taxes which I think is very important particularly with the cost of living pressures, and all the other pressures that we have?"

He went on: "We have to turbo charge economic growth."