A petition which calls on the Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt to face a vote of “no confidence” has reached more 310,000 signatures.
The petition which was created by Graham Hillman centres on claims that Mr Hunt is “destroying all staff morale in the NHS & will cause recruitment issues”.
The momentum behind the signatures comes just days after Mr Hunt was widely criticised for his decision to “unilaterally” impose a new contract on junior doctors which redefines “anti-social” working hours. However the British Medical Association (BMA) claims an “eleventh hour” offer has been made by the Government and the BMA’s chief negotiator Sir David Dalton will present the offer to their committee in the coming weeks.
Let us hope this offer is one that includes phasing in new contracts which tie into additional resources.
There is not a single person I have spoken to who does not think that the aspiration to 7 days is a good idea. The facts around 11,000 deaths at the weekend have not only been misrepresented but as I commented on before, Mr Hunt (whilst wearing an NHS badge) refused to deny that the deaths were the result of junior doctors not being available at the weekend. This is a monstrous dereliction of actual facts which are far more complicated than Hunt alludes to.
Even the NHS’s medical director Prof Sir Bruce Keogh distanced himself from the Health Secretary’s rhetoric by reiterating a view held by many in the healthcare profession that “the weekend effect” cannot be accurately used to measure how many people die avoidably on Saturday or Sunday.
There is no doubt that a move towards 7 days is a good idea and one that will benefit patients in the long run. BUT if Jeremy Hunt thinks he can bully the health profession into providing a 7 day service by twisting their hours and taking even more from them then he is unbelievably naive.
I personally think that Jeremy Hunt is nothing more than a careerist and political opportunist, of the worst kind, who’s current motive is not to improve our health system but is, in fact, to get this supposed 7 day NHS up and running so he can sit grinning at the cabinet table pontificating about how he has delivered the Prime Minister’s promised 7 days manifesto pledge.
However, at what cost? The NHS struggles with 5 days. How can it cope with 7? This change is not being done by adding more resources – but by stretching and pulling the already tight service – to the point where it is already beginning to snap in some places. Jeremy Hunt is putting his political ambitions ahead of patients and doctors and I think it is shameful.
Jeremy could have had us all on his side by saying that he wanted to create a 7 day service and he will start the process by launching a nationwide recruitment campaign for more doctors and nurses and other healthcare professionals to enable it to happen. He could of engaged the public and professionals by being seen to do things the right way. However, he didn’t. He isn’t close enough to the Prime Minister or Chancellor to get the funds required. So instead, he has been forced into spreading the jam over a much bigger piece of toast. And guess what – there isn’t enough jam…and he knows it.
It is for this reason that I believe Jeremy Hunt is not worthy to continue in his role and why I signed the petition.
The petition can be found by clicking here….