Jeremy Hunt has been accused of ignoring the concerns of medical professionals throughout his long row with junior doctors, which reached a peak today as he vowed to impose a contract on them despite strong union objections.
And the breakdown in communication has been highlighted by a video showing the Health Secretary blanking an NHS worker following him down a corridor in Westminster.
The incident happened as Mr Hunt walked into the TV studios at Millbank when he was spotted by a Kings College Hospital registrar.
Dr Dagan Lonsdale entered the building alongside the politician, raising with him in measured terms “the concerns we have about patient safety”.
Not put off by Mr Hunt’s brief attempt to explain that he was “just on his way to do an interview”, Dr Lonsdale told him he was “taking a massive gamble with people in the NHS”, and that he has “absolutely no evidence whatsoever that these changes will have a positive effect”.
Mr Hunt then simply ignored Dr Lonsdale as he followed him down the corridor, asking "why won't you sit down to talk to junior doctors - what if you've got this one wrong?"
Speaking to Sky News afterwards, Dr Lonsdale said Mr Hunt was "too scared to come and talk to junior doctors".
"Why is that?" he asked.
The new terms of employment under dispute would re-define anti-social hours, making it cheaper for hospitals to roster doctors on weekends and evenings.
Doctors have been on strike over the contract, which the British Medical Association says is “putting politics before common sense”.
But after months of talks without any breakthrough, Mr Hunt announced on Thursday that he was imposing the contract unilaterally in a bit to end the “uncertainty” it has caused.
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