New Forest East


[Dr Andrew Murrison rose –

Dr Julian Lewis rose –

Mr Speaker: I see that two doctors are standing on the Government Back Benches. I am sure that the House will understand if I call the medic rather than the military strategist.]

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Dr Lewis: Will the Secretary of State expand a little on what he briefly said about flexibility of working hours and family bereavement among NHS staff? After this urgent question, will he kindly give a short tutorial to those of us with an interest in Defence on his successful techniques for extracting £5 billion from the Treasury for a Department that urgently needs it?

​[The Secretary of State for Health and Social Care (Mr Jeremy Hunt): I would not dare to talk about an area outside my own Department’s responsibilities, even to such an eminent person as my right hon. Friend. Flexible pay is at the heart of what we need to do differently in the NHS. This is really about two types of NHS worker. First, many people find that the shift patterns in the NHS are very unpredictable. Every six weeks their lives are turned upside down as they are given a new set of times when they have to work. People want regularity and predictability, and we do not offer that at the moment, which makes life much tougher for those who are trying to achieve a work-life balance. Secondly, we make life hard for people who want to do extra shifts at the last minute. Both those factors are important, and they will be helped by this new pay deal.]