Firstly, the call for him to pilot his sexist and stupid junior doctors’ contract isn’t a “Labour ‘plan'” – it’s a cross-party call from MPs including fellow Conservative Dr Dan Poulter. Nice one, Jermy – you’ve split your own party!
Second, staging implementation is different from running a pilot programme. In a pilot scheme, the general status quo doesn’t change; in a staged implementation, the whole way of doing things is altered to accommodate new conditions when they come into practice.
Finally – and possibly most importantly – there is no “weekend effect”!
More people die on a Wednesday than on any single day over the weekend. Hunt had to cobble together figures for Fridays, Saturdays, Sundays and Mondays before he had enough to suggest otherwise – and here in the UK, we don’t work a three-day week (except under former Tory prime minister Edward Heath).
Jeremy Hunt has dismissed as “opportunism” the Labour-brokered proposal to dissuade junior doctors from the first all-out strike in NHS history.
A cross-party group of MPs urged the health secretary to limit the new junior doctors’ contract to a pilot scheme before introducing it across England.
Hunt, however, responded to the move on Sunday morning by describing it as opportunism. Writing on Twitter, the health secretary said: “Labour ‘plan’ is opportunism – only 11% of junior docs go on to new contracts in August. We’re staging implementation to ensure it works as intended. Any further delay just means we will take longer to eliminate weekend effect.”
Hunt has said he will impose the contested contract, whether or not it has BMA support.
Alexander, the Conservatives’ Dr Dan Poulter, the Lib Dems’ Norman Lamb and the SNP’s Dr Philippa Whitford told Hunt in a letter that they wanted an independent evaluation of the so-called “weekend effect”, in which mortality rates are higher for patients admitted outside the standard working week.
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