One bottle Fairy Liquid lasts longer than some Conservative Leaders
Does anyone remember Screaming Lord Sutch? Head of the Monster Raving Loony Party? He had one thing going for him – he was honest enough to admit he was loony, and I am beginning to think his ghost is running amok in Whitehall.
Currently, Downing Street is spinning faster than a fairground roundabout, with Ministers flying off in every direction. One returning face belongs to our new Chancellor, Jeremy Hunt..
Hunt back again adds to the confusion. If you can’t remember him – you are not alone. Six years as Minister for Health, and what did he have to show for it?
For those of you who can’t remember what he looked like: see left. He reminded one of a scared rabbit caught in a car’s headlights. Hunt was Secretary for Health from 2012 to 2018, and probably one of the most elusive Health Secretaries ever. Finally he challenged Bojo for the PM-ship, but lost out.
However, with a book just out, gunning for the NHS, he sets out what’s wrong with the service, and what he thinks is needed to fix it. Called Zero: Eliminating unnecessary deaths in a post-pandemic NHS. His book somehow overlooks the fact that he was the Minister for six years, and could have done a lot to improve things during that time. Judging by reviews already out, it doesn’t need me to point out that he could have done a lot to improve things during that time.
One thing that could be said about Hunt’s 6-years in post was that it was pretty undistinguished. After six non-productive years he did manage a strike, and waiting lists grew longer during his tenure. He was noted for being uncontactable – and that’s about all. I shudder to think what he is going to do – or not do – in his new job.
It’s not all down to Hunt
but much of what’s wrong in today’s NHS stems from systems emanating from his six years. During his time, he must have been working diligently at eroding what efficient systems were still in place, so today patients are ‘served’ by Appointment Call Centres that have waiting lists that have now soared up to over 7 million. According to a report by Policy Exchange, NHS bureaucracy has doubled since the pandemic.
Amongst “highlights” under Hunt was a months-long clash over contracts, culminating in junior doctors staging a series of walkouts, the first all-out strikes in NHS history. This resulted in newly-qualified doctors, with their training having cost the NHS millions, going off to work in Australia and America, when we needed them here.
A quick trawl around Google produced information about “trouble at Lewisham Hospital”, where Hunt’s battle to drastically cut services and close departments – including vital maternity, A&E, and intensive care units – reached the High Court, where he lost. Judges found he had acted outside his powers after the Save Lewisham Campaign Group pushed the case to victory.
It goes on, through 2013, 2015 , 2017, and on, Do you remember the Red Cross saying there was a ‘humanitarian crisis‘ in winter care caused by ‘systemic underfunding’ following the record-low A&E waiting time performance?
Yet under Hunt front-line staff numbers went down, but readers might be pleased to know that numbers of Admin. staff increased! After Minister La la Lansley had left, it was very obvious that the NHS needed more front-line staff, NOT Administrators. Yet in his six years I can’t remember any initiative from Hunt to try and increase numbers,
Now, Hunt’s smiling photo no doubt will greet us from the windows of bookshops, encouraging us to buy his book. But as far as I can see, this is just a way of getting us to vote for him – I am sure he still has ambitions to be Prime Minister., so watch out.
The final comment comes from NHS expert, Roy Lilley