In spite of public anger over the absence of Transport Secretary Chris Grayling today as a major increase in rail fares was announced, Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt has refused requests for interviews as news broke that NHS England is telling hospitals to cancel all non-urgent operations and outpatient appointments for the whole month of January.
This is far from the first time that Hunt has gone ‘AWOL’ – or hidden – during an NHS crisis.
Last winter, as the NHS struggled through the 2016/17 winter crisis, Hunt disappeared for weeks before finally emerging to give a weak interview to the BBC in which he stated there were ‘no excuses’ for the NHS disaster – before making a list of excuses and blaming all kinds of things for it.
Except himself, of course.
Now, as hospitals all over England are told to cancel thousands of operations for a whole calendar month – on top of tens of thousands already cancelled before the New Year – the Department of Health (DH) has, according to Sky News’ political editor, declined to arrange an interview with the so-called Health Secretary:
The winter crisis – now an annual event – has well and truly struck. And Hunt, true to form, is hiding rather than leading.
Cabinet ministers disappearing or being unavailable during crises and key questions seems to be the norm for the Tories – Hunt, Gauke, Grayling and now Hunt again.
How much longer can this excuse for a government limp on as the best of our country collapses around us under its mismanagement?
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