IT is not just readers of this newspaper that have growing misgivings about Health and Social Care Secretary Matt Hancock’s capabilities – so, too, does his predecessor Jeremy Hunt.
For, while Mr Hunt was too polite to name and shame his successor, the failure to meet the current deadline for the appointment of medical examiners is another indictment on a growing charge sheet.
First recommended in 2005 following a four-year inquiry into serial killer Harold Shipman, they were, again, deemed necessary to investigate the cause of hospital deaths in an effort to improve patient safety in the NHS. “It is impossible to overestimate the importance of their role,” wrote Mr Hunt in an impassioned newspaper column.
Yet, two years after Mr Hancock took charge of the Department of Health, his record risks becoming as unreliable as one of Chris Grayling’s promises when Transport Secretary. Social care is unreformed – the much-promised Green Paper has disappeared off the agenda – while waiting times for cancer treatment have increased significantly.
Meanwhile A&E waiting times are at record levels as Mr Hancock talks, glibly, about abolishing the target for patients to be seen within the current four-hour benchmark. “Targets have to be clinically appropriate,” he said obliquely. And this is before the gross over-exaggeration of the number of new hospitals that the Department of Health intends to build. It, therefore, begs the question whether the Health Secretary is capable of meeting any target – and, if so, when?