Tag Archives: jeremy hunt

Government risks hypocrisy charge

NHS risk policy: Lansley and Hunt

Health secretary Jeremy Hunt is on his high horse over reporting of safety incidents in the NHS, with officials claiming that one in five trusts are not “being open and honest” about risks faced by patients.

Hunt told Radio 4 Today:

“The NHS is there for patients, and if a hospital has a problem with its reporting culture, I think patients have a right to know that”

Could it be that NHS managers have taken their cue on transparency from the government?

With a tribunal dismissing their case three times, ministers were slammed by the Information Commissioner in 2012 after they invoked a special veto to keep the risk analysis of their disruptive health reforms — the so-called NHS Risk Register — under wraps.

Jeremy Hunt breaches election rules with A&E briefing

  • Sensitive announcement on A&E made two days before poll
  • Cynical Jeremy Hunt timed news to help local Tories
  • Conservatives knew about A&E ‘stay of execution’ before hospital

Jeremy Hunt

Jeremy Hunt’s office appear to have broken strict ‘purdah regulations’ by making a sensitive departmental announcement just two days before an election. His Tory special advisers have briefed regional media on a stay of execution for a their local A&E department — with the news taking the NHS hospital trust and his Whitehall communications team by surprise.

With Tories struggling to cling onto Redbridge Council in Thursday’s poll, leader Cllr Keith Prince told the press:

“This has told us there is a definite stay of execution. It is fantastic news and I would like to thank [Tory MP and government PPS Lee Scott] for all he has done … It is very clear we’re are getting closer to securing the A&E in Redbridge.”

The purdah period typically starts six weeks before elections and is designed to prevent policy announcements being abused for short-term electoral gain.

With a Conservative photo call outside King George Hospital earlier this afternoon, it seems that the local Tory campaign machine knew about the announcement even before the local NHS Trust or Hunt’s Whitehall communications team.

DH press officers were are referring all enquiries on the matter to Hunt’s spads while the local NHS Trust were forced to rush out a statement at the last minute.

At least Hunt hasn’t had problems with his SpAds before. Errrrrr.

Government’s new NHS adviser linked to ‘stealth privatisation’ firm

  • Ex-Marks & Spencer boss Stuart Rose brought in as adviser
  • Works for private equity firm looking to takeover NHS care
  • Rose ‘helping’ hospital … while Care UK bids for the contract

Stuart Rose at Tory conference

Jeremy Hunt is drafting in ex-Marks & Spencers boss Stuart Rose to conduct a review of hospitals. But eyebrows have been raised by Rose’s role with private equity firm Bridgepoint, which owns Care UK — a health firm at the forefront of the stealth privatisation of the NHS.

Tory-supporting Rose addressed Conservative Party conference in October 2010 (above) before putting his name to a letter backing austerity policies just days later.

But it gets worse. The government’s press release explains:

“Sir Stuart will particularly look at the problems faced by the 14 trusts currently in ‘special measures’, the programme to turn-around failing hospitals introduced last year, where strong leadership was identified as key to improvement.”

One of the hospitals which Sir Stuart will be ‘helping’ is George Eliot in Warwickshire. This hospital is currently subject to a takeover bid from, errrr, Care UK.

Conflict of interest much?

Jeremy Hunt ‘worth £10m more than any other cabinet member’

Jeremy Hunt Hotcourses

With Jeremy Hunt poised to complete the sale of his stake in Hotcourses.com  for £17 million, the health secretary could boost his wealth to as much as £18.65 million£10 million more than any other cabinet minister.

Here’s how that compares with the rest of the Tory millionaires around the cabinet table … and Nick Clegg:

Cabinet of millionaires

In 2010 the Mail estimated Hunt’s net worth at £4.5 million:

“Hunt, a lambada-dancing party high-flier, owns a stake in the educational publisher Hotcourses estimated at nearly £3million. He also owns a property in Surrey, a house in Hammersmith, West London, and a half-share of a holiday home in Italy.”

While the Telegraph claims £4.8 million:

“Source of wealth: Stake in Hotcourses, a publisher of guides and websites for educational courses, which he co-founded.”

So accounting for his property portfolio, the windfall should bring him to well over £18 million.

No word yet on whether he’ll be switching energy supplier this winter.

Hunt Humiliated: Tory hospital cuts declared illegal by Court of Appeal

Lewisham hospital protesters

Jeremy Hunt has been definitively slapped down by the court of appeal — who have confirmed that he acted beyond his powers in attempting to force through cuts at Lewisham Hospital.

Hunt may now face a double humiliation if this means he is forced to back down over St Helier Hospital, where campaigners are fighting the same cuts — to maternity and emergency services — as Lewisham.

The Apprentices: Tory double standards over business tsars

Karren Brady and Alan Sugar

Business woman Karren Brady has been unveiled as been unveiled as the Tories’ new business tsar. Introducing George Osborne’s speech earlier she quipped:

“A few of you may also know me as the woman who raises my eyebrows a lot in the background on the TV Programme The Apprentice.”

This would all be fine, if the Tories hadn’t thrown a hissy fit when Alan Sugar was appointed as Gordon Brown’s enterprise tsar in June 2009. Then shadow culture secretary Jeremy Hunt wrote two shrill letters to the BBC claiming Sugar’s role on The Apprentice and advising government were “totally incompatible”.

Whingeing Hunt even suggested the BBC should reschedule the show:

“I wondered whether an assessment has been made as to whether you would need to reschedule the next series of The Apprentice to take into account the need for impartiality during a general election?”

While there is no word on a peerage (yet), her Telegraph interview with Cathy Newman leaves Scrapbook in no doubt that her political ambitions are substantive.

With only four females in a cabinet of 22, however, Cameron will need a few more Karrens to solve what has been dubbed his “women problem”.

Tories still lying on NHS spending 16 hours after being ordered to stop

The Tories still haven’t removed false claims on NHS spending from their website — at least 16 hours after being ordered to stop by the head of the UK Statistics Authority. Despite coverage in the mainstream press and on blogs, the site still reads:

In an embarrassing letter sent addressed to health secretary Jeremy Hunt, the UKSA chief said, at best, spending would have “changed very little” under this government. He went on to demand that the Health department “clarify the statements” about the dubious figures.

Wakey wakey, CCHQ.

UPDATE: Cameron continued the fibbing at PMQs:

“let me quote him directly the figures from the head of the Office of National Statistics, which is that in real terms spnding in 2010 was £104.2bn in real terms and in 2011 it was £104.3bn in real terms. That is a real terms increase …”

Jeremy Hunt goes AWOL on health job

More than three weeks have passed since Jeremy Hunt was promoted to secretary of state for health, with industry sources indicating that he has been briefed to keep the NHS off the front pages at all costs.

Perhaps this explains why he has yet to do a single interview, appear on any broadcast or make an intervention of any kind — despite new figures revealing 5,500 nurses have been cut since May 2010. His public activity can be summarised thusly:

  • Hunt has featured in a single DH press release on dementia.
  • He visited St Thomas’ Hospital — but there were no interviews, no live cameras, and as far as Scrapbook is aware, no advance notice of the visit. Only two photos of the excursion exist.

In the meantime, he has found time to appoint a new taxpayer-funded political spinner from a controversial private healthcare provider and, errr, go on holiday. His own website hasn’t been updated to reflect his new role — with a bio claiming he is still at DCMS.

Good to see he’s earning his £134,565 plus expenses.

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