- Labour’s PFI deals were a huge waste of money and cripple NHS trusts. Absolutely true and I imagine most doctors will back him on this even now. It’s a shame they were first put in place by the Tories in 1992…
- The BMA is refusing to negotiate, and are scaremongering. The BMA also claims Hunt is refusing to negotiate. Not sure who to believe here, a bunch of lousy doctors or a Health Secretary accused of two alleged cover ups in the past two weeks.
- Australian paramedics moving to Britain helps the problem of junior docs going to Australian. A puzzling answer to say the least.
- Seven-day hospital services will reach a quarter of the country by March 2016. Unless he’s talking about elective services (which he definitely isn’t) then what he actually means is: seven-day hospital services will reach 100% of the country by 5 seconds ago
- Hunt assured everyone we would to not cut “the junior doctor pay bill”. Particularly sneaky as he was to asked to reassure no doctors at all will have their pay cut. This way it leaves him room to anything that is cost neutral even if it leaves many individual doctors out-of-pocket.
- When asked about the so-called “Hunt Effect’ (where a patient doesn’t turn up because they think no doctors will be around and ends up dead or injured), he did not even remotely address the question. For good measure, he mentioned the Weekend Affect a further four times on today’s session.
- The solution to a lack of docetaxel, a chemotherapy agent, amongst East Midlands oncologists was to provide seven-day diagnostic services. This answer was particular baffling.
- David Tredinnick asked why the NHS didn’t use acupunturists, complementary healthcare practitioners, holistic therapists and hypnotherapists to help with winter pressures in hospitals. Jeremy Hunt said he would look into the report carefully. I really wish this bit was a joke
- He will continue to practise transparency. Again – two alleged cover-ups in two weeks…
Other miscellaneous hilarity included:
- Alistair Burt, Community and Social Care Minister, having his speech described as a War and Peace screed that needed a pencil taking to it. Not by an opposing MP but by the apparently neutral Speaker, John Bercow. Ouch.
- Heidi Alexander’s tongue-in-cheek-so-far-it-is licking-her-ear comments about a “small issue of the £2 billion NHS deficit.” She said he was glad Jeremy Hunt could join them today, after his conspicuous absence yesterday
- Dennis Skinner suggesting some heads should be knocked together to get an ex-pit village a health care centre. Skinner may be a dinosaur, but when he goes extinct politics will be at least 50% less amusing.
In interests of fairness, it would churlish and wrong to suggest that the Health Secretary did not answer any questions well today. Many were answered sincerely and usefully. The same can be said of his junior ministerial team. Issues from organ donation to antibiotic resistance were discussed maturely and genuine progress seemed to be made. It’s just disappointing that not all questions were treated like that, and that the mistreated ones were the questions even remotely critical of the Government and its policies.