A day after both Jeremy Hunt and Theresa May offered hollow apologies to patients for the ongoing NHS crisis, the health secretary has come under fire for attempting to deflect blame for the problems onto the previous Labour government.
The comments come in the wake of the news that the underfunded and understaffed NHS has been forced to postpone thousands on non-urgent operations for at least a month because it cannot keep up with demand.
Despite nearly a decade of Conservative-led governments, where NHS standards have fallen year-on-year, Hunt chose to try to use the current NHS winter crisis as a basis for a political attack on former Labour prime minister Tony Blair.
On Twitter, Hunt said:
“Tony Blair’s memory is as selective in office as out of office: does he not remember his own regular NHS winter crises? Perhaps he was too focused on joining the euro to give his full attention to the NHS…”
Tony Blair's memory is as selective in office as out of office: does he not remember his own regular NHS winter crises? Perhaps he was too focused on joining the euro to give his full attention to the NHS…
— Jeremy Hunt (@Jeremy_Hunt) January 4, 2018
The South West Surrey MP has personally overseen some of the deepest crises in NHS history, and his attempts at reorganisation have resulted in falling standards, nationwide doctors’ strikes, and a critical shortage of nurses.
Dr Alex Ashman, NHA Party co-leader, called Hunt’s comments “disgraceful” and said it was “beyond belief that Mr Hunt is using the suffering of poorly patients this winter to try to score political points against a former prime minister. And given that his government is thoroughly distracted with their Brexit fiasco, Mr Hunt can hardly make reference to Tony Blair’s distraction by Europe.”
“We’d like to remind Mr Hunt that he has been Health Secretary for nearly five years, during which time standards have continually slipped and waiting times have soared. Going on TV to say ‘sorry’ to patients just doesn’t cut it, especially given his disgraceful remarks on Twitter today. Using the suffering of patients to score political points is frankly beyond the pale.”