Jeremy Hunt has failed, says GP challenging him in general election

Jeremy Hunt has failed as health secretary, the GP standing against him in next week's general election has told voters.

Dr Louise Irvine: campaigning against Jeremy Hunt (Photo: JH Lancy)
Dr Louise Irvine: campaigning against Jeremy Hunt (Photo: JH Lancy)

South London GP campaigner Dr Louise Irvine is standing for the National Health Action (NHA) Party in Mr Hunt's South West Surrey constituency for a second time, after coming fourth in 2015.

This time Dr Irvine, a GPC member who helped lead the successful campaign against the government's attempt to downgrade hospital services in Lewisham, is backed by the local Green Party as well as members of the Labour and Liberal Democrat parties.

In a new campaign video Dr Irvine said she fears for the future of the NHS under Mr Hunt and the Conservatives.

Watch: Dr Louise Irvine campaign video

Dr Irvine said Mr Hunt had promised to solve the problems in the NHS at the last election, but 'since then, things have got worse, not better', with ambulance response times, A&E and cancer waits and GP and mental healthcare access all deteriorating. 'I believe Jeremy Hunt has failed', she said.

Read more: Why Dr Irvine stood in 2015

The GP said she would also challenge the government on affordable housing, schools funding, elderly care, Brexit and environmental issues.

Dr Irvine, who was one of the organisers of the mass protest in defence of the NHS earlier this year, told GPonline last month that her 'progressive alliance' campaign was 'unprecedented'. The initiative, backed by the centre-left Compass campaign group, has seen local Labour party members expelled for backing Dr Irvine, and the Green Party withdraw its candidate.

The doctor-led NHA party opposes privatisation, competition, PFI and cuts in the health service and the current move towards accountable care systems.

A spokesman for the health secretary said: 'Jeremy is proud of his record as health secretary. Despite the financial crisis of 2008, the NHS today has more investment, more doctors and nurses than ever, and independent analysis shows outcomes of care for most major conditions are dramatically better than five years ago with patient satisfaction at near record levels.

'But we need to do much more if we are to confront the challenges of an ageing population which is why medical student places were increased by a quarter last year and nurse training is at record levels. But ultimately, we will only be able to fund those salaries if our economy continues to grow which is why a good Brexit deal is now the single most important external factor for the NHS.'

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