Jeremy Hunt accused this GP of lying on election night. Her reply is dynamite.

GP Dr Louise Irvine who stood against Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt on a National Health Action Party platform has penned a blistering defence to the Conservative minister’s speech on election night which accused her of lying about his record and his motives as Secretary Of State for Health. (See video below.)

Mr Hunt took to the stage after winning the South West Surrey seat and accused Dr Irvine, who has previously mounted legal challenges against his hospital cuts, of telling falsehoods during the election campaign.

“Even though the result wasn’t very close, it felt a more personal campaign because I had a party who is really campaigning on my record as Health Secretary, I’m afraid using a lot of falsehoods about the reason for the challenges we have in the NHS but also particularly about my and the Conservative Party’s motives in respect of the NHS,” said Hunt on Thursday night after winning with 33,683 votes, Dr Irvine coming second with 12,093 votes.

“It has never been anything other than making the NHS the safest health service in the world,” he added,

“and I was very humble that South West Surrey rejected those suggestions and saw them for what they were which were quite simply falsehoods and I will continue to work as an MP to make sure the quality of our health service continues to improve locally.”

Now Dr Louise Irvine, a British Medical Association Council member, has penned an open letter to Hunt, reappointed this week by Theresa May to Secretary of State for Health. The letter concisely refutes Jeremy Hunt, laying bare the dangerous erosion of our health system under his tenure. This letter needs to be read and addressed by May’s government as Irvine is by no means the only medic warning of the devastation and the dangers of further cuts to come.

Read the letter reproduced below and please comment – who do you think is telling falsehoods? – Dr Louise Irvine or the Health Secretary?

 

The facts don’t lie, and nor do I – An open letter to Jeremy Hunt MP

Dear Mr Hunt

On Thursday night, in your acceptance speech, you accused me of falsehoods.

In your words, you accuse me of lying about both our record with the NHS and also our motives. You were clearly rattled that over 12,000 people in South West Surrey showed their concern for the NHS and voted for someone who questioned your record, but that is what democracy is all about – holding the government to account.

The truth is that I haven’t lied for the simple reason that I haven’t needed to. The facts speak for themselves.

When I talked about your record, I drew out many facts:

  • The number of people lying on trolleys waiting more than 4 hours to be admitted to a hospital bed increased from 387,737 in 2015/16 to 560,108 in 2016/17 – that’s a 45% increase in one year. I’m sure I don’t need to remind you that a trolley is one of the least safe places to be in the health care system or of the three patients who died in Worcestershire hospital on trolleys during last winter’s crisis?[i] The British Red Cross described it as a “humanitarian crisis.
  • Ambulance response times, especially for the most urgent calls, are the worst since records began. The national target of reaching 75% of Category A calls within eight minutes has not been met for 32 consecutive months. [ii]
  • Mental health services are struggling. Suicide is the commonest cause of death in boys age 5-16 yet children’s mental health services can’t cope with the volume of referrals and often there is not a single mental health bed anywhere in the country due to cuts to mental health provision. [iii]
  • Performance against the 6-week cancer treatment target and the 18-week elective treatment target are deteriorating. [iv]
  • Infant mortality is rising for the first time in years, having been rising for poorer children for a decade. [v]
  • The Royal Society of Medicine attributed the 30,000 excess deaths in the winter of 2015 to cuts to health and social care. [vi]
  • The NHS has fallen further down international league tables of mortality due to treatable causes. [vii

 

None of these is a lie.

 

Perhaps it was my comments about funding that you felt were untrue. I said that the NHS had been underfunded and that future plans in the manifesto were insufficient. In fact, it was your government that was rebuked by the health select committee (including two Conservative MPs) for claiming that you’d be spending an extra £10 billion a year on NHS by 2020.[ix] They pointed out that a large proportion of this was taken from public health and doctor and nurse training budgets. Moving money around within a service to appear more generous than you actually are is fundamentally dishonest. [x]

In fact, your claim that you will be spending an extra £10bn per annum by 2020 compared with 2015 turns out to be only a £4.5 bn increase. This amounts to a 1.1% annual rise each year in the decade from 2010 -2020[xi], the biggest funding squeeze in NHS history and not even half of the 2.7% per annum forecast growth in need over that period, according to the NHS chief executive.[xii] As for the future, Prof Anita Charlesworth of the Health Foundation says that the promised extra funding for the NHS in the Conservative manifesto is far less than the NHS needs.[xiii]

Maybe you are accusing me of lying when I draw attention to NHS staff shortages and the disgraceful way you treat NHS staff:

  • In 2015, Health Education England calculated that the NHS had 30,000 fewer full-time equivalent nurses than needed – equivalent to nearly one in 10 positions.[xiv]
  • You have imposed a draconian pay cap on nurses meaning their pay will have been cut by 12% by 2020[xv]
  • You have removed the bursary for student nurses, meaning many people who want to train to become a nurse can’t afford to do so[xvi]
  • You have treated nurses and junior doctors with contempt. Record numbers are taking time off with stress because they fear that patients aren’t receiving the care they need[xvii] and 50% of nurses are considering leaving the profession because of this[xviii]
  • In the recent NHS staff survey, 47% said current staffing levels were insufficient to allow them to do their job properly and 59% reported working unpaid overtime each week.[xix]
  • Since your announcement in 2015 of 5,000 more GPs by 2020 we actually have fewer GPs now than two years ago![xx]

In the election campaign I stated that your performance as Health Secretary is destroying the NHS, demoralising staff and risking patient safety. As you can see from the above, this is absolutely true.

Finally, you accused me of lying about your motives. I have no idea what your motives are for destroying our NHS, but I have tried to give you the benefit of the doubt.

I have assumed that you are doing it deliberately – in order to run it down and provide an excuse for privatisation.

If I were you I’d accept that interpretation, because the alternative is that this has all been caused by your sheer incompetence.

Patients and NHS staff deserve better than this. The NHS is a great organisation and provides excellent care to most people most of the time, thanks to its dedicated and hardworking staff. But it is cracking at the seams and sometimes failing, due to the many pressures it is under. I am motivated by the desire to defend the NHS and raise the alarm about the dangers it faces from a continuation of Conservative policies. And as long as you are health secretary I will continue to hold you to account for what you are doing to the NHS.

 

Dr Louise Irvine

 

[i] https://www.england.nhs.uk/statistics/statistical-work-areas/ae-waiting-times-and-activity

[ii] http://www.qualitywatch.org.uk/indicator/ae-waiting-times

[iii] https://www.theguardian.com/society/2016/jul/04/nhs-child-mental-health-services-anxiety-depression

[iv] http://www.qualitywatch.org.uk/latest-data/combined-performance-summary-march-2017

[v] http://www.bmj.com/content/357/bmj.j2258

[vi] https://www.rsm.ac.uk/about-us/media-information/2017-media-releases/new-analysis-links-30000-excess-deaths-in-2015-to-cuts-in-health-and-social-care.aspx

[vii] http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2017/05/18/nhs-care-among-worst-europe

[viii] https://www.bma.org.uk/collective-voice/influence/key-negotiations/nhs-funding/privatisation-report

[ix] https://www.theguardian.com/society/2016/oct/30/theresa-mays-claim-on-health-funding-not-true-say-mps

[x] https://www.kingsfund.org.uk/projects/nhs-in-a-nutshell/nhs-budget

[xi] https://www.england.nhs.uk/wp-content/uploads/2016/05/fyfv-tech-note-090516.pdf

[xii] https://www.theguardian.com/society/2017/apr/29/nhs-nurses-pay-cut-12-per-cent-over-decade

[xiii] https://www.theguardian.com/society/2016/jul/21/nhs-bursaries-for-student-nurses-will-end-in-2017-government-confirms

[xiv] http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/national-hell-service-landmark-nurses-10053340

[xv] https://www.nursingtimes.net/news/reviews-and-reports/critical-reasons-behind-nurses-leaving-profession-laid-bare/7016295.article

[xvi] http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2017/05/23/number-gps-has-fallen-since-nhs-launched-5-year-rescue-plan/

[xvii] https://www.theguardian.com/society/2016/jun/25/the-other-nhs-crisis-the-overworked-nurses-who-are-leaving-in-despair

[xviii] http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/national-hell-service-landmark-nurses-10053340

[xix] http://www.health.org.uk/news/one-four-social-care-staff-leaving-profession-every-year

[xx] https://www.kingsfund.org.uk/publications/articles/big-election-questions-gp-crisis

 

 

 

@BenGelblum

 

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27 Responses

  1. Linda Harrison

    It’s obvious to me who is lying, and it’s not Dr Irvine, Jeremy hunt and the rest of the Tory government have no regard for our NHS and have systematically run it down, selling it off to Tory supporters, they are a complete disgrace

  2. Joe

    Two sides to every story and I doubt Mr Hunt will bother responding to this sore loser as he has some real work to do.

    1. leo

      the vast majority of us lose under a tory govt. (approx 95%) the cunning part is, that the propaganda is so ubiquitous and persistent that a hefty percentage don’t even realise that they are losers too…even to the point that they vote FOR the party that is actively robbing them !

    2. David Rawcliffe

      Sorry look at the facts – the cuts are real, the cuts are sustained, the moral is the lowest I have ever seen in over 40 years of working in the health service.

    3. Andrew

      You are an idiot, what exactly is his real work, to continue to ruin the NHS, nothing she has said is a lie, he is a clueless prick and West Surrey should be ashamed along with the majority of the country for keeping the Tories in power, they are destroying our country

    4. Cliff Jones

      Well Joe, to I take it you are standing up for Hunt and declared Irvine a loser think again.
      Take a look back over his serving years and see what mess he made of things.
      I have been involved with emergency medical help, and it was only down to the dedicated Medical staff that saved my bacon, they over rode hospital regyulations, that I and I am sure a vast number of people have been saved by actions that could and probably has lost them their jobs.
      I look at all things no matter what in our life, until they become a proven facts with a degree of scepticism.
      But I am afraid no government, councils etc., stand the test of time as truth makers or givers.
      Look at this weekends events, listen to what we the comman man is up against

    5. Dan

      How can’t you continue to believe the lies you are fed by the tories? Really, what is wrong with you? What are you going to do when you need health care or social care? What are you going to do when by no fault if your own, you lose your job because of Market forces . What are you going to do if you or your family are involved in an accident and you become permanently disabled with no hope of working?

    6. alan

      yes he does have some work to do but as you may have missed out on the truth before it would be good for you to read it and understand it. Mr Hunt is doing just what you have above been told!

    7. Brian Levy

      That is the typical tory response. As an NHS Consultant I can conform that Dr Irvine is absolutely right. The very fact that the interim PM decided to reappointment this extremely dangerous man is all of the proof that is needed that Hunt’s intentions towards the NHS are malevolent.

      If you believe that there is some kind of defence against Dr. Irvine’s points then state them. If you cannot your point remains as vapid and indefensible as Hunt himself.

  3. Gokul

    Agree with every word of the reply. NHS is in crisis and ruling elite is refusing to recognise this. I am not sure why Mr. Hunt is being allowed to continue as health secretary. People need to raise this with their MPs and make sure we got rid of him just to save the NHS.

  4. leo

    The ONLY thing the tory party appear to have learned from their general election collapse, is that they need to stop the youngsters exchanging notes (via the internet) in relation to tory destruction/divisiveness, …by censoring social media sites!
    Now that it has become apparent that the tory tabloids are politically dead, they find themselves furious and confused. Confused enough to believe that censoring the internet is any kind of answer.

  5. rene

    This WOMAN is a breath of fresh air,I believe Mr hunt is driving down our NHS for reason,s he is keeping to himself and mrs may,Has any one ever sat down and thought about it,it is Obvious who he wants to sell it to,Virgin,,[a man who has so much money he doent know what to do with it,Wallmart an American company but is called here Asda,like i said it is OUR NHS,And not theirs to sell,people pay a hell of a lot of money every month to keep it,and the Fire Brigade,[look what they have been through and this gang of untrained dont know what is going on in the real world Monkeys ,talk about what hero,s and heroins they are but they pay them a pittance ,so joe lets not hope you need either of OUR Hero,s, and you have to wait in line because you are not sick enough,or your fire has been down graded to a none emergency,For gods sake look after them have you seen enough Mr Hunt,Manchester,London ,London,you know why they do their jobs and to a high standard, [danger,fear,fire,bombs and LUNATICS] they are Dedicated to what they do and Applauded all over the world. So Mr Hunt you have been telling porkies.

  6. Steve

    Yes , Joe. He will be a very busy man. It will take a lot of hard work on his part to kill and sell off the NHS.
    This is the man who literally wrote the book on how to privatise the NHS (ok, so strictly speaking I think he co-authored it)

  7. Andrew

    I can’t understand why people vote for parties with ‘conservative’ values. We have the same thing here in Australia – called the liberal party. Same values – small government, low taxes, poor services, ‘trickle-down’ wealth (as if!). I wish people would realise that governments need to grow the economy by investing in people and infrastructure. That means education, health, social services and public transport. Please read Joseph Stiglitz’s ideas.

  8. Maxine

    Dr Irvine is completely correct and as one of Hunt’s unfortunate constituents, I can say there are a good many people who voted for her precisely because they can see what Hunt is doing to the NHS. Maybe if we had a Health Secretary who was not so wealthy that he did not have to rely on the NHS, or maybe if we had one who had lived in the USA for a while, as I have, and seen what it is like to live without an NHS equivalent, we’d have a Health Secretary not selling off the NHS bit by bit and a better functioning NHS. This is a man who at a public meeting in Farnham a few years back told the audience that pharmaceutical companies were a good example of the big society Cameron used to talk about. Think about that, pharmaceutical companies, not generally regarded as altruists! The support Hunt has received from Theresa May, who has now twice reappointed him, is further evidence of just how little she cares about the so-called JAMs. Thank the Lord for Louise Irvine battling for the ordinary person and hanging fast to belief in democratic accountability. What a shame the mainstream media did not give her the spotlight she deserved in either of the last two General Elections.

  9. Carlos Hoyos

    He has given you a golden opportunity to sue for defamation and continue your fight.
    Keep up the good work and thank you for everything.

  10. susan lofthouse

    With all the information and personal experiences out there, whom do we believe? Dr Irvine, of course. It’s amazing that people could even consider voting for Jeremy hunt, let along vote him back in. I hope this letter goes viral.

  11. annie evans

    I have always voted for the Concserviates BUT JEREMY HUNT is not fit to be the health minister. He has lied and lied about the closure of Charing Cross Hospital. So too has our local MP Gregg Hands.

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