2016 was a landmark year for the NHS in all the wrong ways.
Wrong: Accident & emergency (A&E) waits were worse in every month than the year before – so much worse that the best month in 2016 was as bad as the worst month of 2015, the 4-hour A&E target of 95% was missed for the 17th month in a row and waiting times reached record levels ;
Wrong: the phenomenon of patients forced to wait in ambulances outside A&E – which don’t even count toward A&E waiting times – grew by a horrendous 69% compared to a 2015 that was already one of the worst on record;
Wrong: NHS doctors went on strike for the first time ever
Wrong: treatment waiting lists grew and waiting list targets were missed
Wrong: ‘delayed transfers of care’ – moving patients into social care after hospital treatment is completed – grew by an astonishing 26% by Nov 2016, the latest month for which full figures are available
Wrong: the number of young people with mental health conditions forced to seek A&E help because no proper treatment was available grew by 89%, as Jeremy Corbyn pointed out to Theresa May last week
Wrong: already-strained services came apart at the seams, leading to one in sevenone in seven NHS hospitals declaring ‘black alerts’ in the first days of 2017 and forcing the Red Cross to declare a ‘humanitarian crisis’ and step in to help
Wrong, wrong, wrong – everything was worse in the NHS over the last year, except for the commitment and efforts of its mistreated staff.
And now, it seems, we know why.
According to experts, selling a company is a complex business that takes at least 9 months – and longer in a challenging economy – and larger companies take longer to sell.
At the weekend, it was announced that Hunt had sold the business he has owned since before his career in politics for £35m. It’s a safe bet that, at that kind of valuation, Hunt’s company Hotcourses wasn’t a basic 9-month job.
For at least 9 of the last 12 months – a period in which he was paid at least £101,000 by the taxpayer just in basic salary – Jeremy Hunt appears to have largely absented himself from his role and responsibilities as Health Secretary.
While doctors went on strike for the first time ever, while the NHS and its finances fell apart despite the best efforts of overstretched staff working with wafer-thin resources, while patients waited in ambulances that couldn’t attend the next emergency call, while targets were missed, while mentally ill people went unsupported, while health staff had to put up with stagnant pay for ever more work…
…while all this went on, Jeremy Hunt took his eye off the ball and put it firmly onto his pocket, to rake in £15m in profit from selling a business.
No wonder more people than ever are clamouring that #Huntmustgo. You can simply never trust a Tory – especially with the NHS.
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