Leading statisticians have cast serious doubt on Jeremy Hunt’s claim that in only 10% of hospitals are patients seen by a senior doctor within 14 hours of being admitted at a weekend, and described it as unfair, misleading and a gross underestimation.
NHS England has also distanced itself from the health secretary’s claim saying the evidence it has collected on hospitals’ performance in this area does not vindicate his interpretation.
The controversy over the accuracy of Hunt’s statement, which he made in parliament, is the second time in recent weeks that questions have been raised about a key plank of his justification for imposing a new contract on junior doctors and turning the NHS into a seven-day service. The row comes as the result of the ballot for strike action by junior doctors emerges on Thursday.
Doctors recently complained to the Cabinet Office that Hunt has also misrepresented key research on how many patients admitted to hospital at the weekend die because too few senior doctors are on duty, and the British Medical Journal, which published the findings, has accused him of misrepresenting them.
For a proper explanation of the junior doctor’s contract, listen to the November 13 edition of Radio 4’s The Now Show, from 14.30 minutes into the programme.
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