The medical profession has declared it has no confidence in health secretary Jeremy Hunt, who it says has put the NHS under ‘attack’.
The vote of no confidence, discussed this morning at the BMA Annual Representative Meeting in Edinburgh, was passed by a clear majority. A similar motion was voted down at the LMC conference last month, but the ARM’s decision will now become BMA-wide policy.
It was presented to the meeting by BMA Council member and hospital consultant Dr Jacky Davis, co-founder of the NHS Action Party, who said: ‘Hunt is a disaster for the NHS.’
The motion, which was approved in full, referred to ‘Jeremy Hunt’s attack on the NHS and his comments about mediocrity and coasting’ and declared that the conference ‘has no confidence in the Secretary of State for Health, Jeremy Hunt’.
BMA chairman Dr Mark Porter advised against supporting the motion but added that since it was ‘a tradition’, delegates could ‘go ahead’ if they wanted to.
Last year the BMA’s annual representative meeting saw a similar no-confidence vote passed regarding then-health secretary Andrew Lansley who they blamed for pushing through the Health and Social Care Act as well as unpopular changes to doctors’ pensions.
Mr Hunt has recently been at the heart of a row with GPs over their role in excessive pressure on A&E department after stating that the 2004 GP contract was to blame because it saw GPs allowed to opt out of out-of-hours care provision.
Commenting on the vote, a DH spokesperson said: ‘It is completely right that the Health Secretary demands the best possible care for patients. Following the findings of the Francis Inquiry and other recent reports, it is clear that the culture of the NHS needs to change and it is disappointing that the BMA union still doesn’t accept that.’
The vote immediately acquired attention on Twitter, where GPC member and Lancashire GP Dr David Wrigley tweeted: ‘###Breaking News### The whole of UK medical profession voted just now to say ‘We have no confidence in @Jeremy_Hunt ’ – at @TheBMA #armlive’
Dr Jamie Green, a GP trainee in Northamptonshire, added: ‘#ARMlive rapturous applause as we pass a vote of no confidence in SoS for health Jeremy Hunt!’
Motion in full
‘That this meeting:
i. notes the Health Secretary, Jeremy Hunt’s attack on the NHS and his comments about mediocrity and coasting;
ii. has no confidence in the Secretary of State for Health, Jeremy Hunt.’