Lies of the Week with Jeremy Hunt

Lies of the Week with Jeremy Hunt

Hello and welcome to ‘Lies of the Week with Jeremy Hunt. Every week we will look at what ever new ridiculous spin statement Jeremy is making. Now the cabinet office and the papers [4] are having ‘words’ about the ‘11,000 deaths’ misrepresentation, Jeremy has found new research to get wrong.

He said THIS [3] in a Radio 4 interview for the Today programme on Saturday, about the Junior doctor contracts dispute.

We have three times less medical cover at weekends and Sunday is the second busiest day of the week in A&E

There are so many things wrong with this one sentence it is actually impressive.

1) the 3x as many staff figure comes from THIS [2] – the HISLAC project on specialist cover in hospitals. They carried out a point prevalence survey of consultants and post CCT specialists – simply asking them this questionnaire- were you in hospital this Wednesday? And were you in this Sunday? 14,500 consultants responded. The raw data is not currently available. ** but the study found 3.6x as many specialists ‘attending’ acute inpatients on a Wednesday than a Sunday.

2) This study looked exclusively at consultants and those who have finished training- Jeremy brought this up in defence of the junior doctor contract. This is obviously completely unrelated, especially as junior doctors are usually on call in hospital at weekends in the stead of their consultants ie all the registrars.

3) The study included many many non-acute specialties – rehabilitation, clinical genetics, allergy, sexual health, sports medicine etc – specialties without usual admitting rights in most hospitals and very few, if any, weekend emergencies. This would heavily skew consultant presence numbers to appear understaffed at the weekend, again confusing routine and emergency work.

4) The study looked exclusively at patients who were ADMITTED. So it has nothing to do with how busy A&E might be on the weekend, except tangentially.

5) The A and E activity data is HERE.This data shows Monday is actually the busiest day of the week in A&E for attendances, and Tuesday is as busy as Sunday, although there isn’t much difference between any day of the week except Monday.

6) This is all hospitals, not those in the first study, so trying to link consultant cover at a group of specific hospitals to A&E activity everywhere is meaningless. As for hospital ‘admissions’ ; from the original BMJ Freemantle study, admissions actually drop on a Sunday, by about a third, and if you count only emergency admissions that drops by a third again.

In summary then, if we translate Jeremy’s spin into true representative figures; when asked why the government wanted to cut pay and remove hours safeguards for junior doctors, Jeremy hunt ACTUALLY answered;

‘In some hospitals, Consultants in urgent and non-urgent specialties looking after patients admitted to hospital are more likely to work Monday-Friday than be in on the weekend, when hospital admissions are lowest. In some other hospitals A&E is 2nd busiest on Sunday but actually It is busiest on Monday.’

And everyone looked at him like the inflammatory spin moron he is.

Join us next week for more- Lies Of the Week- with the Right Honourable Jeremy Hunt.

** another strike for poor ministerial conduct; discussing statistics that haven’t been yet released. Here is the code.

[1]http://www.england.nhs.uk/statistics/statistical-work-areas/ae-waiting-times-and-activity/
[2] http://ow.ly/PQnru
[3] http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b06hk68b from 01:10:00 onwards.
[4] http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-34598335

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6 Comments

  1. Amid all the crap we as a workforce have had to put up with over the last few months… your blogs keep me sane! Please keep doing this.

  2. You need to get an official response to todays Sunday Mirror Carole Malone piece on JDs. “Put patients’ lives before hurting Hunt.” She is accusing them of putting patients at risk because they think it is acceptable to have higher death rates at weekends. Her item is libellous and fictitious. You need a formal apology. Please do it. Unfortunately can’t be accessed on internet so you will need to buy a paper!
    Then again, I don’t think we can ever hope for govt or right-wingers to do stats in any academic way. Tints of Staff’s https://skwalker1964.wordpress.com/2013/02/26/the-real-mid-staffs-story-one-excess-death-if-that/

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