NEW Health Secretary Sajid Javid smiled for cameras today – as a predecessor warned he has just six months to solve the social care crisis after Covid.
The minister, who was hired last night after Matt Hancock sensationally quit following his affair with an aide, has been told by a top medical organisation he faces a "baptism of fire".
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But Jeremy Hunt said he believes Mr Javid will succeed where others have failed.
Appearing on The Andrew Marr Show, it was put to Mr Hunt that when he held the role, he wasn't able to overhaul the system in six years.
And asked how long Mr Javid had, he said: "Six months, because the Government have said they will do it by the end of this year, and I know Sajid will want to honour that promise."
It comes as…
- Matt Hancock announced he was resigning almost 48 hours after his affair with his aide was exposed
- The Health Secretary told his wife he was leaving her as the affair was revealed
- Gina Coladangelo has left her position on the Department of Health board after the affair with Hancock
- Read Matt Hancock's resignation letter in full
- Boris Johnson told Hancock 'you should be proud of what you've achieved' as he accepted his resignation
- Sajid Javid will be the new Health Secretary
Meanwhile, the British Medical Association's chairman Dr Chaand Nagpaul told Sky News Mr Javid will face an uphill battle – as medics are "feeling absolutely exhausted after 15 months of this pandemic".
He added that "about four in 10 say their mental health is worse than before the pandemic significantly", with "about one in three saying they're going to be retiring the next year".
"This comes at a time when the new Health Secretary was going to see a baptism of fire," Dr Nagpaul added.
"He won't have the luxury of a phased handover, he'll have to make every day count."
Despite that, Mr Javid appeared positive this morning as he spoke to the media.
"I think Matt Hancock worked incredibly hard, he achieved a lot, and I'm sure he will have more to offer in public life," he said.
"I was honoured to take up his position. I also know it comes with huge responsibility and I will do everything I can to make sure I deliver for the people of this great country.
"We are still in a pandemic and I want to see that come to an end as soon as possible, and that will be my most immediate priority – to see that we return to normal as soon and as quickly as possible."
Mr Hancock last night announced he was quitting after The Sun exposed his secret affair with a former university pal he hired during the pandemic.
He apologised to his family, although didn't specifically mention his wife Martha – the mother of his three children – in the grovelling address.
It has emerged he told Martha he was leaving her on the night his affair with Gina Coladangelo was first revealed.
The ex Health Secretary was recorded kissing his aide on May 6 – while hugging was still banned as part of pandemic restrictions.
Just ten days later, the hypocrite warned Brits not to hug their loved ones.
Mrs Coladangelo is married to millionaire entrepreneur Oliver Tress, 54, who founded the High Street fashion and lifestyle chain Oliver Bonas.
They live in a £4million, six-bedroom Edwardian home.
It's understood Mr Tress has been left devastated – and his wife was pictured packing up her car after she was told her affair would be exposed.
Ms Coladangelo, who has been a close friend of the former cabinet minister since university, was appointed as a non-executive director at the Department of Health and Social Care last year.
She has since stepped down from the £15,000-a-year role.
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