Factchecker challenges Jeremy Hunt to prove NHS claims after sources can’t be found

Jeremy Hunt and Ralf Little [Composite: BBC].

Are we all still interested in this debate?

Or are we all bored of it now? After all – there are a lot of new developments elsewhere that we could be discussing, right?

Only kidding – with the NHS Winter Crisis in full swing, this is more topical than ever.

How sad for Jeremy Hunt that this is current information, and he can’t claim that the National Archive has <ahem> lost it.

And in light of Mr Hunt’s – and the Conservative Government’s – unreasonable failure to fund the NHS properly (they’d rather give tax breaks to people who are appallingly rich), it is hugely informative that the Health Secretary’s figures were not adequately sourced.

Ralf Little – the initiator of the debate – is drawing the obvious conclusions, as the following shows:



The Conservative Government has come badly unstuck recently, having been exposed in a series of lies by social media commenters.

Any attempt by Mr Hunt to evade these issues or mislead the public will be spotted. He needs to come clean – sooner, rather than later.

What does he have to say for himself?

In November last year, the Secretary of State for Health, Jeremy Hunt, and the actor, Ralf Little, had a heated debate on Twitter about the state of mental health provision in the UK.

During the exchange, both sides invited factcheckers to assess their claims.

In December we published a series of articles that looked at the individual claims being made by both sides… you can read and decide for yourself.

What we can say for sure is that we found examples in the debate where we couldn’t find the source of the figures being used. The people responsible for these missing sources couldn’t tell us where to find the information.

We don’t think that’s good enough.

Last year the Chief Executive of the NHS, Simon Stevens, told a committee of MPs that overall spending on mental health had gone up. Mr Hunt and the Prime Minister have since repeated this. But neither NHS England nor the Department of Health were able to provide us with the source of those figures.

Mr Hunt made comments about the roll-out of crisis care in Accident and Emergency Departments, known as liaison services. When we looked into the figures, we discovered that they hadn’t been published – this is against the principle of equal access set out in The Code of Practice for Official Statistics.

The Health Secretary made a claim on Twitter about the increase in the number of staff working in mental health trusts. We found that although the figures quoted are accurate, the way that the numbers were selected and presented was confusing and misleading.

Source: After the fact – Jeremy Hunt vs Ralf Little – Full Fact

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