As the SKWAWKBOX covered yesterday, Jeremy Hunt had to admit that he had given false information to Parliament when he claimed there were 30,000 more mental health professionals under the Tories than there were under the last Labour government. Hunt had stated a figure for all NHS professionals, not mental health professionals.
What most people might not have appreciated is the sheer scale of the ‘fake news’ that Hunt told MPs. Here’s a handy graph created by a SKWAWKBOX reader, with Hunt’s claim on the left – and the reality on the right:
Hunt’s claim of 30,000 was exaggerated by a staggering forty-three times compared to the real figure of just 692 – fewer than a hundred a year since the Tories entered government in 2010.
Theresa May trumpeted the Tories’ supposed achievement in ‘parity of esteem for mental health’ in today’s Prime Minister’s Questions.
Even more astonishingly, this is the second time in as many months that Channel 4’s FactCheck has caught Hunt out making misleading statements about mental health care – with the exact same ‘error’.
In August, Jeremy Hunt announced plans to massively increase recruitment of mental health nurses. Speaking to the BBC about the plan, he invited listeners to ‘look at our track record’ and implied that the Tories had increased mental health nurse numbers by six thousand.
The reality was as different as could be. Hunt’s claim of 6,000 was false even about the whole NHS, as the official number was below five thousand. But mental health nurse numbers had decreased by almost five thousand.
Two claims. Two months. Two falsehoods. A disaster for sufferers of poor mental health.
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