Health Secretary, Jeremy Hunt, has faced a lot of negativity in the general media with Andrew Marr going as far as to say some people think of Hunt as ‘toxic’. DHA has put together a list of a few things Hunt has said which may have helped turn popular opinions against him
This is quite complex for early in the morning
In October Hunt gave a live interview on BBC Breakfast about the changes to junior doctors contracts.
Hunt said that the maximum number of hours junior doctors would be allowed to work per week would be 56 hours. However a few minutes later he said the maximum number of hours would be brought down from 91 hours a week to 72 hours.
BBC Breakfast presenter Charlie Stayt pulled him up on the discrepancy to which Hunt replied: “Sorry, this is quite complex for early in the morning but the 56 is the average hours you work over the period of two or three months and that’s what the law says.”
However, this slip-up did not go unnoticed by the public as Hunt seemed to be a little confused about details of the junior doctors’ working hours.
Also under doctors’ contracts normal hours are classed as being between 7am-7pm with Hunt trying to extend the normal hours to 6am-10pm, causing a little backlash against his, “quite complex for early in the morning” comment as the interview took place at 7am. Oops.
If in doubt, Google it
In January 2016, Hunt gave a speech about the 111 hotline, saying that it required more medics and that staff needed to be given better training. However, following this positive suggestion on how to prevent future tragedies Hunt gave advice that left many health professionals in uproar.
Hunt said: “We may well need more 111 doctors and nurses. But if you’re worried about a rash your child has, an online alternative – where you look at photographs and say ‘my child’s rash looks like this one’ – may be a quicker way of getting to the bottom of whether this is serious or not.”
The Daily Mail reported that this comment seemed to suggest parents could diagnose a rash as well as a doctor and that ‘Hunt was encouraging parents to ‘Google’ symptoms.’
The Medical Fuhrer
In an interview on the Andrew Marr Show, Hunt may have come across a little blasé about how people view him in light of the junior doctors contract conflict.
Marr: “You came in after the NHS was in some kind of crisis, to smooth feathers, to calm things down and people regard you now as toxic…”
Hunt: “Look at the history of the NHS, the person who founded the NHS, Nye Bevan, was described three years after the end of the second world war, by the BMA, as the medical Fuhrer, that’s how much they hated him…”
Marr: “So this is nothing really?”
Hunt: “This is part of what happens when you are health secretary…”
In the same interview with Andrew Marr, Hunt also made the mistake of calling ambulance paramedics, ‘ambulance drivers’.
Now, in comparison with some of Hunts other comments this may seem rather small, however paramedics seem to have taken this remark as a slight, with healthcare professionals taking to social media in order to voice their upset.
This image posted onto twitter by a nurse highlights the difference between ‘drivers’ and ‘ambulance paramedics’.