Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt – inexplicably to many observers – not only survived Theresa May’s last Cabinet reshuffle, but gained an expanded title. NHS-watchers were horrified that the man on whose watch the NHS has fallen into permanent crisis was protected yet again.
Today, he appeared before MPs to make a shocking admission of further failure:
The English breast-screening programme – in other UK nations, devolved government manages the NHS – is supposed to provide free screening for breast cancer every three years to all women.
Hunt was forced to admit that a staggering four hundred and fifty thousand women had not received an invitation to at least one screening – and that this had resulted in up to almost three hundred premature deaths.
Even the spread of possible deaths given by Hunt is misleading. As the BBC’s Laura Kuenssberg noted, the computer modelling used suggests 270 deaths, not the 135 Hunt mentions as a lower limit.
He also later admitted that there were women only recently who will have received a belated invitation just after being informed that they have breast cancer – including some told that they are terminally ill with a disease that may have been cured had there been no delay.
Will any Tories dare defy the whip when the principle is this important and the damage the government has done is so enormous? Recent history does not lead to optimism, which is in itself a disgrace on the government.
Hunt’s mealy-mouthed apology – in which he blamed ‘administrative incompetence’ – is utterly inadequate.
His position has long been untenable for the cuts, deaths, needless reorganisations, privatisations and fragmentation of our NHS – and maintained only with the help of the mainstream media and successive weak prime ministers.
His admission that he oversaw avoidable deaths and suffering on such a scale must be his last statement as Health Secretary.
He must go. Now. For those women and their loved ones – and for the sake of all of us who depend on our National Health Service.
The SKWAWKBOX needs your support. This blog is provided free of charge but depends on the generosity of its readers to be viable. If you can afford to, please click here to arrange a one-off or modest monthly donation via PayPal. Thanks for your solidarity so this blog can keep bringing you information the Establishment would prefer you not to know about.
If you wish to reblog this post for non-commercial use, you are welcome to do so – see here for more.