Health secretary Jeremy Hunt has appointed a special political adviser for policy.

Sam Talbot-Rice was previously head of research at the think-tank the Centre for Policy Studies, and is currently head of communications at ARK Schools, a group of academy schools.

Mr Talbot-Rice has been described as a leading Cameronite in the think-tank world, and he has previously blogged for the Daily Telegraph. He is expected to cover policy and political issues.

He will join Sue Beeby, who is Mr Hunt’s SpAd focusing on communications, who joined the Department of Health from the Department for Culture, Media and Sport with Mr Hunt.

A source confirmed the appointment to HSJ and said Mr Talbot-Rice was expected to start at the DH in coming weeks.

It is believed the idea of appointing a civil servant to directly advise Mr Hunt on health policy, in addition to his two SpAds, has been considered in the DH, but it is understood there are currently no plans to do so.