New Forest East


[The Secretary of State for Health (Mr Jeremy Hunt): ... The lesson that we must take away, not just for the junior doctors’ strike, but for financial sustainability, is that we need to be better at workforce planning and training up the number of doctors and nurses that we need.

Several hon. Members rose

Mr Speaker: I call Dr (post-war strategic military planning) Julian Lewis.]

Dr Julian Lewis: In other words, I am totally unqualified as a medical doctor. Therefore, may I ask a question about democratic mandates? I appreciate that, unlike a referendum, a general election does not give an entirely specific mandate on every proposal put forward, but will the Secretary of State take the opportunity to remind the House and the country of how central the proposal for a seven-day NHS was to the Conservative manifesto as far as his Department was concerned?

[Mr  Hunt: My right hon. Friend is right, as that was our only really substantive promise in terms of a commitment to the NHS at the last election. We are funding it and we have an absolute obligation to the British people to deliver on it. That is why in that short period after the last election I felt I had to be clear with the BMA that we were going to deliver on that manifesto promise. If the BMA had reflected on that, it might have perhaps behaved differently from how it did.]