The petition organised by NHS doctors in response to the health secretary’s recent comments about a seven-day NHS reached the 100,000 mark last week and the government must consider scheduling a Commons debate in response.
An official government response on the Parliament petition site defended plans to remove hospital consultants' abilty to opt out of working weekends, claiming that patients have a 16% greater chance of dying if admitted on the weekend.
But the government response failed to respond to the call for a no confidence vote. The petition said: ‘Jeremy Hunt has alienated the entire workforce of the NHS by threatening to impose a harsh contract and conditions on first consultants and soon the rest of the NHS staff’.
A group of doctors, including high profile GP Dr Zoe Norris and the GP Survival group published a statement challenging government claims over the safety of weekend services, consultant pay and weekend opt outs. The doctors said Mr Hunt’s comments on seven-day services were ‘the last straw’ following a series of actions that had angered NHS staff including the lack of a credible GP workforce plan, failure to engage with NHS staff, progressive privatisation, closure of services and budget cuts.
Labour’s shadow health secretary Andy Burnham, who is battling to lead his party, Tweeted: 'On behalf of the 196,000 people who have no confidence in , I will apply for debate when House returns.'
Mr Burnham will say later in a speech marking the 70th aniversary of the election of the Attlee government that the modern Labour party has become ‘frightened by its own shadow’ and would not have the ‘courage or capacity’ to create the NHS.