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Health secretary does stint in hospital A&E


The health secretary worked in Watford General Hospital’s accident and emergency department last Thursday as part of plans to give Department of Health ministers and officials frontline experience.

Jeremy Hunt undertook roles including cleaning, portering and observing clinical work alongside nurses and doctors at the hospital, which is part of West Hertfordshire Hospitals Trust.

He was accompanied by his private secretary Rebecca Besalel, who is believed to have been working separately on a surgical ward.

Mr Hunt said last month that all DH civil servants and ministers would experience frontline NHS care during the next four years in order to “reconnect with the experience of patients”. The move formed part of the government’s response to the Mid Staffordshire Foundation Public Inquiry report.

A DH spokesman confirmed to Nursing Times that Mr Hunt had visited Watford General Hospital on Thursday morning “as part of a back to the floor experience, as was his private secretary”.

He added that both had delivered care “in some capacity” and carried out cleaning and portering duties while observing clinical care given to patients.

A spokeswoman for West Hertfordshire Hospitals Trust declined to comment on Mr Hunt’s visit.


Readers' comments (12)

  • Finally, it's a start. Though how many hours would their working day be and for how many shifts, and probably be paid on their normal salary.
    Also how much cleaning, deep cleaning and sh*t cleaning is involved. I wonder if it's more observational and just to meet another tick of things they should be seen to do.
    At the end of the day (or night) Hunt knows that he doesn't have to come back face some of the patients still waiting for treatment, doesn't have to face frontline abuse from distressed patients and concerned relatives.
    Though a start is a start and is still welcome.

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  • hopefully it was with full agreement of the patients because of respect for their privacy and protection of their data.

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  • tinkerbell

    what a pantomime, just one day, but at least it might offer them a better insight into what hard working, kind, caring decent staff we have in the nhs.

    I guess they will be getting a lunch break though hey, as it will probably be the first hard days work they've done in a long while, if ever.

    Hope they've all had their CRB checks done too after all that expense fiddling malarkey.

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  • Bet that A&E has more staff today than it has had for ages.

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  • michael stone

    Anonymous | 12-Apr-2013 12:43 pm

    You CYNIC !

    But I think you are probably right - I would not bet against your suggestion !

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  • DH Agent - as if ! | 12-Apr-2013 3:25 pm

    Anonymous | 12-Apr-2013 12:43 pm

    nor would I but it would very obviously defeat the object if this is the case. I bet he gets his breaks, and on time, with free coffee, milk, sugar and bickies too and a cosy chat from selected nursing 'colleagues'!

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  • "All else propaganda"
    The Doctor

    The hospital wanted to look its best for him so they must have tidied and cleaned everything for him first

    Get him to do it for a month like everybody else

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  • and some nights as well, judging by the post from The Nobody on the page about treating abusive patients and his/her experiences as an HCA in A&E.

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  • Ha! you are having a laugh one day how about the other days in the year and was it staged did he have a bodyguard just in case some one hit him or was abusive patients not admitted that day plus did he manage to get a cup of tea or water or something to eat what role did he take on?
    A&E and wards are a like no matter who comes in hospital or what area they can all give it. i wish i was there he can come and work with me for a day there would be no frills sorry! as this is the NHS i might find a cupper if i have enough to pay the tally oh! and may be a biscuit or two wecome mr hunt ans your private sec welcome to the real world i have been doing my job a long long time and nothing has changed only less money to live on can i have a go at your job!!!!!

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  • Another pointless, empty Hunt stunt. Puh....leese!!!

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