Jeremy Hunt could not come to the Whittington due to 'unforeseen circumstances'
Published: 13 January, 2015
By TOM FOOT
UNDER-FIRE Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt scrapped plans for a tour of the Whittington Hospital's new emergency care department after a major protest was organised to greet him at the front gates, campaigners have claimed.
The Conservative big hitter was due for a special tour of the ambulatory care centre – a new £4million department which takes the burden off the Accident and Emergency – on Thursday morning.
The Keep Our NHS Public and the Defend Whittington Hospital Coalition (DWHC) had called for a joint protest saying the event would be “a good opportunity to let him know what we think about the current crisis in our A&E, which failed to reach its admissions target last weekend”.
A spokesman for the Department for Health told the New Journal: “Regretfully, due to unforeseen circumstances, the Secretary of State was unable to attend the planned visit to the Whittington Hospital.”
The New Journal asked the Whittington last week to confirm Mr Hunt planned to visit after a tip-off from inside the NHS Trust.
There was no response, bar an invite to a separate event later that day where Barbara Windsor, from EastEnders and the Carry On films, was opening a new cancer support “pod” at the main entrance.
DWHC had in the early hours of Thursday morning requested its large membership base to join an “emergency protest” of the ambulatory care centre at around 11am.
Chairwoman Shirley Franklin had told supporters: “Please join the protest outside the hospital to tell this government how you feel about their disastrous cuts and privatisation of our NHS, and our resulting A&E crisis. Bring your banners, placards, and anything that makes a noise! Let this government know just how unpopular their policies are.”