David Cameron, prime minister, was pounded by the opposition over the junior doctors crisis yesterday and lashed out at the British Medical Association (BMA), naming them “scaremongers”.
Jeremy Corbyn, leader of the opposition, said that “this dispute with the junior doctors has been on the basis of misrepresented research about weekend mortality. I’ll read to the prime minister what the researchers themselves say:
“‘It is not possible to ascertain the extent to which these excess deaths may be preventable. To assume they are avoidable would be rash, and misleading.’ So is the prime minister and his health secretary being rash and misleading with those figures?”
In response, Cameron agreed that the junior doctors dispute has “been plagued” by scaremongering and inaccurate statistics. “The BMA in their first intervention said that this was a 30% pay cut. That was completely untrue…”
“The health secretary was guilty. He was guilty of an understatement” of the number of excess weekend deaths in hospitals, the prime minister said at the Prime Minister’s Questions.
This comes after the BMA announced on Tuesday that they will launch a judicial review of the government’s decision to impose a new contract on junior doctors in England, because they believe the government failed to follow due process before deciding to force the contract – which will take effect in August.
Corbyn called on the prime minster and health secretary Jeremy Hunt to apologise.
“Isn’t it time that the prime minister and the health secretary actually apologise for what they’ve done, and correct these statements, and – while they’re about it – reach an honourable settlement with the junior doctors?”
He concluded: “Nye Bevan would be turning in his grave if he could hear the prime minister’s attitude to the NHS.”