Junior Doctors: Industrial Action

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 6:36 pm on 5th September 2016.

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Photo of Jeremy Hunt Jeremy Hunt The Secretary of State for Health 6:36 pm, 5th September 2016

I am happy to do that. Indeed, I am delighted to take a question from my right hon. Friend, because it is after someone has long departed an office that people actually appreciate that big, important changes were made, which was certainly the case from his tenure as Secretary of State for Education.

One of the clinical standards states that people admitted at weekends should be seen by a senior doctor—a consultant or an experienced junior doctor—within 14 hours. They will be seen by a doctor much sooner than that, but they should be seen within 14 hours by someone experienced enough to know whether there is something to worry about. That would happen in most places during the week, but it does not happen in many places over the weekend. Another standard relates to the most vulnerable patients who are at real risk of going downhill. This is not the clinical term, but doctors say that spotting people who are going downhill is one of the most important things. Such people should be checked at least twice a day by someone experienced enough.

Those are two of the four clinical standards that we want our constituents to be reassured are in place across the country. We think that that will make a big difference.