Doctors dispute 2006 was 'best ever year for NHS'

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Doctors and NHS

Most doctors 'strongly disagree' with Health Secretary Patricia Hewitt's now infamous statement that 2006 was the 'best year ever for the NHS', according to a Hospital Doctor/Medix poll.

Her comment, made in an interview with The Independent newspaper in April last year on NHS job losses and financial problems, was the first major crack in her public credibility as health secretary. She was jeered at the Royal College of Nursing congress the following week. And it has done nothing to garner support with doctors, with 63% (902) in the survey disputing her rose-tinted claim.

Doctors' responses in the survey were scathing as she was accused of 'living on a different planet'.

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One respondent said: 'Patricia Hewitt manages to irritate and annoy with every irresponsible and outrageous statement she makes.'

While another said: 'All the New Labour secretaries of state [for health] have been dreadful, but Hewitt has been spectacularly the worst.'

Responding at the time to Mrs Hewitt's comment Mr James Johnson, chairman of the BMA council, said: 'This certainly isn't the best year ever for the thousands of NHS staff who could lose their jobs or for the patients whose operations have been delayed so trusts can save money.

'It is true that waiting times are down, but the NHS is now facing a whole new set of problems.'

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