Conservative Party bigwigs seem determined to make fools of themselves, and undermine their own policies, during the summer Parliamentary recess.
Already, This Blog has recorded how Priti Patel single-handedly wrecked any credibility the government had over its claim that it will publish figures relating to the deaths of sick and disabled benefit claimants.
On Friday, it was the turn of Jeremy Hunt, Michael Gove – and Michael Gove’s wife, Sarah Vine – courtesy of Channel 4’s satirical bombshow, The Last Leg. The segment was so good, it is worth quoting almost verbatim.
Reading a message the show had received on Twitter, host Adam Hills said: “Hannah asked, ‘Is it okay that Jeremy Hunt breached patient confidentiality and still continues to criticise NHS doctors? #dontbeadick #dontbeajeremyhunt’?”
The question alone encouraged the studio audience into a loud and sustained round of applause.
“Hmm!” said Mr Hills. “I think that just measured the temperature of the room! Yes, the man who is his own rhyming slang upset more doctors than an outbreak of ebola this week, when he criticised NHS staff for not working seven-day weeks – to which most NHS staff replied, ‘Dude, we totally do’.”
Co-host Josh Widdicombe pointed out that what’s needed is more doctors, but Jeremy Hunt isn’t prepared to provide the money for it; he just wants them to work longer. “The ideal scenario would be: Each hospital has one doctor who never goes home.”
And Alex Brooker, the other co-host, added: “The way I see it is, a doctor is working all the time because, even when they’re not in the hospital, if they go to the supermarket and someone collapses, they can’t turn around and go, ‘I tell you what, a few hours ago when I was in, I could have helped you!'”
“Lozzle McFozzle said, ‘Is it okay that Jeremy Hunt attacks doctors for supposedly not working weekends, shortly before his eight-week holiday?'” continued Mr Hills.
“Jeremy Hunt tweeted a photo of himself in a hospital on a Saturday, but came under fire when a quick look at the rosters behind him showed it was actually a Friday. Mm-hm!
“A quick look at the confidential patient details behind him showed that he had also tweeted confidential patient details.
“In Jeremy Hunt’s defence, he says he’s trying to forge new contracts that will make the NHS safer – but doctors claim they are already providing five-day-a-week care on four-day-a-week funding. If you make them work seven days a week but with no extra funding, it actually makes the NHS less safe.
“Some doctors have even suggested this is all part of Hunt’s plan to undermine the public’s trust in the NHS, so he can eventually privatise the whole thing. And bear in mind, this is a guy who co-authored a book about dismantling the NHS – and we’re surprised that he wants to dismantle the NHS? It’s like getting freaked out when the author of 50 Shades of Grey breaks out the handcuffs. You’ve read the book, you know what you’re in for; you’re going to get screwed and it’s probably going to hurt!”
Alex Brooker cut in again: “I find it so incredible that we’re even talking about this… For a country’s economy to work, the workforce is absolutely fundamental, and what can be more important than keeping that workforce healthy? So what is more important, to spend money on, than the NHS? ‘Cos they’re not putting it into the schools. So at what point do you think, ‘We should probably scrimp on one thing that completely makes the country run and our economy work’?”
“Meanwhile, a petition to call a vote of ‘no confidence’ in Jeremy Hunt has reached over 100,000 signatures, which means it must now be considered for debate in Parliament,” said Mr Hills.
Moving on, he stated: “Someone called Shab said, ‘Is it okay to NOT feel sorry for Michael Gove, who’s been left on crutches this week?’
“Justice Secretary Michael Gove hurt his foot over the weekend but couldn’t get an X-ray until Monday morning. His wife claimed, in an article, this was proof that the NHS needs to be open 24/7 – but forgot to point out, he didn’t actually go to an NHS centre. He went to a minor injuries unit which was established to ease the pressure on accident and emergency, who deal with accidents and emergencies!
“If Michael Gove really needed to be seen over the weekend, he would have been sent straight to A&E where there are 24-hour-a-day radiologists.
“This is not proof that the NHS needs to be open seven days a week. This is proof that Michael Gove needs to go home, take a tablespoon of cement and harden the f**k up!
“As for Jeremy Hunt, everybody wants a seven-day-a-week NHS but you don’t get it by degrading doctors and making them look workshy. Many doctors are on call at weekends, they earn below minimum wage for that work and they often work unpaid overtime beyond all of that.
“In the words of a letter written by a doctor this week, called Karan Kapoor, ‘We don’t go on strike, we don’t hold the country to ransom, we don’t compromise patient care because we were meant to go home two hours ago; instead, we go above and beyond. Without this silent and diligent commitment, the NHS would have crumbled many years ago’.
“This is for Jeremy Hunt, Michael Gove and Michael Gove’s wife: You are badmouthing some of the hardest-working, best-qualified people in Britain, who are also woefully underpaid; the people who may one day need to save your lives. You’re not just being dicks, you’re being a massive pack of…”
(Cut to a clip of BBC Breakfast News presenter Bill Turnbull misreading a news piece earlier in the week) “C***s.”
Just to make sure the point hit home, the show had one more dig at Jeremy Hunt up its sleeve:
For further background reading, try this article. Undoubtedly there are many others.
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