Jeremy hunt MPSix years as Minister and what did he have to show for it?

Jeremy Hunt was Secretary for Health from 2012 to 2018, probably one of the most elusive Health Secretaries ever.  Finally he challenged Bojo for the PM ship, but lost out.  However,  with his new book just out, signs are he is keen to challenge again for the leadership in the near future.

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 the waiting lists grew longer during his time.  Now, the House of Commons has appointed him Chair of their Health and Social Care Committee (HSCC), Strange – like asking a schoolboy to mark his own homework, as the HCSC would effectively be commenting on work done by Hunt when he was officially the Minister.

He now has the cheek to write a book about what’s wrong with the NHS, called :

Zero: Eliminating unnecessary deaths in a post-pandemic NHS.

Judging by reviews already out, it won’t need me to point out that there were innumerable ‘adverse incidents (the polite word for deaths) during his tenure of office,

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 away eroding what efficient systems were still in place, so today patients are ‘served’ by Appointment Call Centres that could have a waiting list that has soared up to anything from 6.4 million to over 13 million (depending on which source you go to). According to a report by Policy Exchange, NHS bureaucracy has doubled since the pandemic;  knowing how slowly the Dept. Health moves, this increase must have started off under Hunt.

Amongst the “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, leaving the NHS short of qualified staff.

Then there was 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.

In 2013, Hunt announced a fundamental review of emergency care following waiting times that were the worst in almost a decade. A year later he was criticised by a health watchdog for claiming in the Commons that median waiting times to be seen in A&E departments had halved since 2010; 2015 revived the 2013 statistic – this time, seeing the worse A&E waiting times in a decade; and in 2017, Hunt admitted that the NHS must do better when it comes to waiting times after failing to miss targets for cancer care, A&E and routine operations over 18 months.

Underfunding caused the next crisis – the worst ever winter crisis, – caused by systemic underfunding: the Minister failed to ask for enough money to keep the NHS going efficiently.  Do you remember this involved 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-liner staff numbers went down, but readers might be pleased to know that numbers of Admin. staff increased! After La la 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 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 seem to remember he ran against Bojo for leader, and I am sure he still has ambitions to be Prime Minister.

The final comment  comes from NHS expert, Roy Lilley

“\has Hunt learned enough to be the next PM?”
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