Junior doctors strike: Reporter told he can't ask where Jeremy Hunt is because it 'wasn't on the agreed set of questions'

Health Secretary refused to appear for interviews on the eve of the first strike by medical staff in 40 years 

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Jeremy Hunt's special adviser tried to stop a journalist from asking why the Health Secretary had refused to appear for any interviews on the eve of the most significant strike by medical staff in 40 years. 

Unluckily for the Department of Health aide, the encounter was caught on camera. 

Sky News reporter Darren McCaffrey asked Professor Norman Williams, a senior clinical advisor to Mr Hunt and former President of the Royal College of Surgeons, where the Health Secretary was. 

The NHS chief was left squrming when an aide interrupted the interview and accused Mr McCaffrey of digressing from the agreed set of questions. 

"Hang on a minute, we're not doing all this nonsense," the aide is heard saying as the Sky News reporter quizzes Professor Williams over the whereabouts of Mr Hunt. 

"We agreed a series of questions," the adviser adds. But he was shot down by Mr McCaffrey, saying: "I didn't agree any questions with anyone," before continuing with the interview. 


Mr Hunt eventually emerged on Tuesday lunchtime and accused junior doctors of "putting patients at risk" with their strike action. 

The industrial action saw thousands of junior doctors joining pickets outside around 150 hospitals throughout England.

The strike action - supported by two thirds of the public - started at 8am on Tuesday morning and could be followed by two further walk-outs. 

A poll for IPSOS Mori poll for the Health Service Journal found that 66 per cent of the public support junior doctors walking out from all but emergency care. 

But support drops when strike action would also affect A&E and other emergency services - as is planned for next month - with only 44 per cent backing. But this is still higher than the 39 per cent who said they opposed such action. 

A 48-hour walk out is planned for January 26 and 27 and a third strike is planned for February 10, when strike action will include all care.