With the Prime Minister primed to reshuffle her cabinet team next week, the SNP has insisted there should be no rewards for failure as she seeks to plug the gap left by the resignation of Damian Green last month.
Reports suggest that Theresa May is prepared to promote Tory Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt to the role of de facto Deputy Prime Minister — despite a catalogue of failures in overseeing the health service in England.
Mr Hunt has been blamed for demoralising a generation of doctors in his foolish standoff over junior doctors’ contracts, cutting key services and overseeing the worst crisis in the history of the NHS in England, with hospitals south of the border forced to cancel tens of thousands of operations on Tuesday because of pressures associated with chronic underfunding of services.
SNP health spokesperson at Westminster Dr Philippa Whitford MP said: “After the damage that Jeremy Hunt has done to the NHS in England it would be foolish for the Prime Minister to promote him to become her deputy.
“It would show utter contempt for the NHS”, she said.
“There’s only one place he should be reshuffled — and that’s out of the health brief and straight to the back benches, where he can do no further harm to public services.
“From demoralising a whole generation of junior doctors through a needless and petty standoff over their contracts, or cutting vital services to the bone in the name of austerity he’s proved himself a liability and a danger to the NHS. He can never regain the trust of the medical profession.
“The Red Cross have said that health services in England face a ‘humanitarian crisis’, and Jeremy Hunt is to blame.
“Thankfully in Scotland, our health services are in much better hands with the SNP. We’re investing record levels into world class care, employing more doctors and nurses than ever to deliver for patients.
“And we want more people to come to Scotland to live and work in our NHS — despite Tory attempts to turn skilled nurses and doctors away with their hard, xenophobic stance on Brexit.”