Health secretary Jeremy Hunt's RLI visit '˜disappointing'

Junior doctors at the Royal Lancaster Infirmary say they are 'disappointed' they did not have the chance to speak to health secretary Jeremy Hunt when he visited the hospital.

Wednesday, 22nd June 2016, 2:26 pm
Updated Wednesday, 22nd June 2016, 4:28 pm
Jeremy Hunt meets staff at the A&E department.

Mr Hunt visited the RLI last Thursday and spoke to some of the staff on the front line.

Junior doctors had hoped to speak to Mr Hunt about their concerns over contract changes, but BMA representative for Lenny Ivatt said many did not even know he was visiting.

“One junior that did see him said he was unable to ask any questions due to the large volume of managers and security surrounding him,” she said. “There was no question and answer session and we were not forewarned that he was coming which was disappointing.

“If I’d had the chance I would have asked him how he proposed to staff and fund his seven day NHS without affecting our training or compromising midweek services as a result of increased weekend support.”

Dr David Wrigley, a GP in Carnforth and local BMA representative, also expressed his frustration about the visit.

He said: “I am not surprised that Mr Hunt’s visit was kept secret. He has presided over huge cuts to NHS funding and doctors morale is at its lowest ever point.

“Doctors are furious at his handling of the NHS and the impact it has on our patients. Cuts to services and longer waiting times to see a doctor are all due to the actions of Mr Hunt and his government.

“I would have loved to have known about his visit and be given the opportunity for a 10 minute chat with him.”

Trust chief executive Jackie Daniel said: “This was a great opportunity for our staff to spend time with him and discuss the challenges they face and also the improvements that they continue to make.

“We know we still have much more to do, but we are seeing consistent improvements in standards of quality, safety and experience.

“It does remain extremely challenging; however we’ve shown through coming out of special measures that it is possible to still invest in areas such as staffing and our buildings, while still making efficiency gains and improving standards of care.”