As an NHS doctor who ‘does’ politics, the subject of our now ex-health secretary comes up frequently. Various people tell me they don’t see the problem with Matt Hancock. It’s been a difficult time, he’s been under pressure etc. So I offer you this comparison.
Matt is your NHS ward matron.
He and a ward sister are caught kissing in a corridor, on work time. Appropriate NHS Trust disciplinary procedures are followed. Turns out Matt recruited the ward sister, who he knew already. Questions are asked about when the affair started, as preferentially employing someone you are in a relationship with would be very inappropriate.
We find out that last year, the ward had a lot of staff vacancies. Matt was worried this was an emergency situation, perhaps caused by his poor management. So what he did is call all his mates to come in and work, rather than have a fair and transparent interview process. And he paid them more than usual.
Then we discover that the ward has had more deaths than usual. Difficult to investigate though, because the ward culture is now pretty closed- well of course, it’s staffed by Matt’s mates.
Oh, and during the process of looking into all this, as a small aside, we find out Matt’s been sending out sensitive information using his gmail account, rather than nhs.net.
None of this is OK. And it’s no where near the whole story. At every stage there should have been credible voices- colleagues- perhaps a functioning opposition party- calling it out. Because the thing is, it’s not a ward. It’s a national government. And it’s unacceptable.
For all the detail, try here: https://goodlawproject.org/
[This is an edited version of a post originally made on the doctors.net.uk website]