Media Watch: cancel the honeymoon
Much has been written about the sacking of Andrew Lansley and Jeremy Hunt’s arrival at Richmond House.
Unfortunately for the new health secretary, much of it was negative. Reporters were quick to seize on Mr Hunt’s signing of a Commons motion supporting homeopathy. Even The Daily Telegraph said this, his vote to reduce the abortion limit from 24 weeks to 12 and his involvement in a book calling for the “denationalisation” of the NHS made him a “controversial appointment”.
Owen Jones, writing in The Independent, said NHS supporters should “fear” the former culture secretary who, it is claimed, wanted to remove the NHS segment from the Olympic opening ceremony. The Guardian and The Independent revelled in Mr Hunt’s appearance at the Paralympics where he was booed. And The Observer revealed he wrote to NHS Surrey, asking for reassurance that a five-year contract would be “swiftly” signed to enable Virgin Care to run seven hospitals and community services.
Away from the reshuffle The Sunday Telegraph revealed plans are being drawn up to allow the release of clinical research and safety records of medical implants after the PiP breast implant and metal-on-metal hip replacement scandals. At present a confidentiality clause prevents data from being seen.
Monday’s Daily Telegraph reported on the death of a seven-year-old, which was partly blamed on a bank holiday shortage of staff at the Bristol Royal Hospital for Children. A report by University Hospitals Bristol Foundation Trust said low staff levels on his ward had been a problem for two years, with eight safety incidents related to staff levels since January.
On Monday The Guardian said Unison and the GMB were planning coordinated strikes against the public sector pay freeze.
Hunt’s media honeymoon was non-existent.