Tag Archives: Tory

The real saboteurs are the Tory Brexiters destroying the NHS | Owen Jones

Who are the real saboteurs? Is it those who want Brexit to be properly scrutinised by parliament to prevent a disastrous deal which could wreck the economy and shred social provision? Those were, after all, the saboteurs who needed crushing according to the Daily Mail when Theresa May called her calamitous snap election. Or are the real saboteurs those who – through bigotry, twisted ideological zealotry and outright stupidity – are damaging the fabric of the public services we all depend on?

Britain’s National Health Service is propped up by 12,000 doctors from the European Economic Area. Without them, our most treasured national institution – which brings us into the world, mends us when we are sick or injured, cares for us in our final moments – would collapse. So it should be of some concern to us, to put it mildly, that nearly half of them are considering leaving the country, and a fifth have already made actual plans to do so.

What a twisted irony. The leave campaigners made a calculated decision to win the EU referendum with a toxic mixture of lies and bigotry. One of the most striking falsehoods was an extra £350m a week for the NHS after we left: instead it’s being emptied out of desperately needed doctors.

And can you blame them for wanting to leave? We’ve now had years of vitriolic scapegoating of immigrants to deflect responsibility from the banks, the tax-dodgers, the unaccountable corporations, the poverty-paying employers, the rip-off landlords, the neoliberal politicians, and all the other vested interests who have unleashed misery and insecurity upon this country. The positive contribution of immigrants was all but banished from public discussion. The campaign reached a crescendo during the referendum, with immigrants variously portrayed as potential criminals, rapists, murderers and terrorists, validating every bigot in Britain and resulting in a surge in hate crimes on the streets. I wonder why European doctors don’t feel particularly welcome right now?

This is about the worst possible time to haemorrhage doctors. The NHS is enduring the longest squeeze in its funding as a proportion of GDP since its foundation; it’s being fragmented by marketisation and privatisation; it’s under growing pressure because of decimated social care budgets while citizens continue to live longer. Plunging morale – because of privatisation, staff shortages and cuts – is affecting all doctors, regardless of where they’re born: a recent study suggested two-thirds are considering leaving. The consequence? We’re having to look abroad for more doctors. This is a recurring irony of Conservative rule. After the first five years of the coalition government, drastic cuts to nurse training places led the NHS to look for one in four nurses abroad.

How have we allowed the bigots and xenophobes of our unhinged tabloid press and political elite to inflict so much damage? Rather than making our live-saving foreign doctors feel unwelcome, surely we should be focusing on how we can tax the booming wealthy individuals and big businesses so we can invest more in our NHS? It should be abundantly clear who the real saboteurs are. They have already inflicted incalculable damage to our social fabric, our public services, our economy, and our international standing. The question is: how do we prevent them from inflicting even more damage?

Owen Jones is a Guardian columnist

The real saboteurs are the Tory Brexiters destroying the NHS | Owen Jones

Who are the real saboteurs? Is it those who want Brexit to be properly scrutinised by parliament to prevent a disastrous deal which could wreck the economy and shred social provision? Those were, after all, the saboteurs who needed crushing according to the Daily Mail when Theresa May called her calamitous snap election. Or are the real saboteurs those who – through bigotry, twisted ideological zealotry and outright stupidity – are damaging the fabric of the public services we all depend on?

Britain’s National Health Service is propped up by 12,000 doctors from the European Economic Area. Without them, our most treasured national institution – which brings us into the world, mends us when we are sick or injured, cares for us in our final moments – would collapse. So it should be of some concern to us, to put it mildly, that nearly half of them are considering leaving the country, and a fifth have already made actual plans to do so.

What a twisted irony. The leave campaigners made a calculated decision to win the EU referendum with a toxic mixture of lies and bigotry. One of the most striking falsehoods was an extra £350m a week for the NHS after we left: instead it’s being emptied out of desperately needed doctors.

And can you blame them for wanting to leave? We’ve now had years of vitriolic scapegoating of immigrants to deflect responsibility from the banks, the tax-dodgers, the unaccountable corporations, the poverty-paying employers, the rip-off landlords, the neoliberal politicians, and all the other vested interests who have unleashed misery and insecurity upon this country. The positive contribution of immigrants was all but banished from public discussion. The campaign reached a crescendo during the referendum, with immigrants variously portrayed as potential criminals, rapists, murderers and terrorists, validating every bigot in Britain and resulting in a surge in hate crimes on the streets. I wonder why European doctors don’t feel particularly welcome right now?

This is about the worst possible time to haemorrhage doctors. The NHS is enduring the longest squeeze in its funding as a proportion of GDP since its foundation; it’s being fragmented by marketisation and privatisation; it’s under growing pressure because of decimated social care budgets while citizens continue to live longer. Plunging morale – because of privatisation, staff shortages and cuts – is affecting all doctors, regardless of where they’re born: a recent study suggested two-thirds are considering leaving. The consequence? We’re having to look abroad for more doctors. This is a recurring irony of Conservative rule. After the first five years of the coalition government, drastic cuts to nurse training places led the NHS to look for one in four nurses abroad.

How have we allowed the bigots and xenophobes of our unhinged tabloid press and political elite to inflict so much damage? Rather than making our live-saving foreign doctors feel unwelcome, surely we should be focusing on how we can tax the booming wealthy individuals and big businesses so we can invest more in our NHS? It should be abundantly clear who the real saboteurs are. They have already inflicted incalculable damage to our social fabric, our public services, our economy, and our international standing. The question is: how do we prevent them from inflicting even more damage?

Owen Jones is a Guardian columnist

Jeremy Hunt claims a Tory was the true founder of the NHS – that’s rubbish | Letter

At the recent Conservative party conference the health secretary, Jeremy Hunt, claimed that it was Henry Willink, the Tory minister for health in the wartime coalition, who introduced a white paper on a national health service in 1944, making Willink the founder of the NHS and not Nye Bevan.

My research, thanks to the House of Lords library, tells me that this is complete nonsense and that Mr Hunt is way off the mark. Mr Willink’s proposed bill was by his own admission no more than a consultative document and did not see the light of day.

Indeed, when Nye Bevan’s comprehensive national health service bill was voted into law in 1946, Sir Winston Churchill, Sir Anthony Eden, Harold Macmillan, Rab Butler and other notable Tories voted against it – including Mr Willink himself, who had by then proposed a hostile amendment to the bill.

So Mr Hunt should get his facts straight, and cease misleading his Tory brethren and the wider public.
Tom Pendry
Labour, House of Lords

Join the debate – email guardian.letters@theguardian.com

Read more Guardian letters – click here to visit gu.com/letters

Jeremy Hunt claims a Tory was the true founder of the NHS – that’s rubbish | Letter

At the recent Conservative party conference the health secretary, Jeremy Hunt, claimed that it was Henry Willink, the Tory minister for health in the wartime coalition, who introduced a white paper on a national health service in 1944, making Willink the founder of the NHS and not Nye Bevan.

My research, thanks to the House of Lords library, tells me that this is complete nonsense and that Mr Hunt is way off the mark. Mr Willink’s proposed bill was by his own admission no more than a consultative document and did not see the light of day.

Indeed, when Nye Bevan’s comprehensive national health service bill was voted into law in 1946, Sir Winston Churchill, Sir Anthony Eden, Harold Macmillan, Rab Butler and other notable Tories voted against it – including Mr Willink himself, who had by then proposed a hostile amendment to the bill.

So Mr Hunt should get his facts straight, and cease misleading his Tory brethren and the wider public.
Tom Pendry
Labour, House of Lords

Join the debate – email guardian.letters@theguardian.com

Read more Guardian letters – click here to visit gu.com/letters

Jeremy Hunt claims a Tory was the true founder of the NHS – that’s rubbish | Letter

At the recent Conservative party conference the health secretary, Jeremy Hunt, claimed that it was Henry Willink, the Tory minister for health in the wartime coalition, who introduced a white paper on a national health service in 1944, making Willink the founder of the NHS and not Nye Bevan.

My research, thanks to the House of Lords library, tells me that this is complete nonsense and that Mr Hunt is way off the mark. Mr Willink’s proposed bill was by his own admission no more than a consultative document and did not see the light of day.

Indeed, when Nye Bevan’s comprehensive national health service bill was voted into law in 1946, Sir Winston Churchill, Sir Anthony Eden, Harold Macmillan, Rab Butler and other notable Tories voted against it – including Mr Willink himself, who had by then proposed a hostile amendment to the bill.

So Mr Hunt should get his facts straight, and cease misleading his Tory brethren and the wider public.
Tom Pendry
Labour, House of Lords

Join the debate – email guardian.letters@theguardian.com

Read more Guardian letters – click here to visit gu.com/letters

Jeremy Hunt claims a Tory was the true founder of the NHS – that’s rubbish | Letter

At the recent Conservative party conference the health secretary, Jeremy Hunt, claimed that it was Henry Willink, the Tory minister for health in the wartime coalition, who introduced a white paper on a national health service in 1944, making Willink the founder of the NHS and not Nye Bevan.

My research, thanks to the House of Lords library, tells me that this is complete nonsense and that Mr Hunt is way off the mark. Mr Willink’s proposed bill was by his own admission no more than a consultative document and did not see the light of day.

Indeed, when Nye Bevan’s comprehensive national health service bill was voted into law in 1946, Sir Winston Churchill, Sir Anthony Eden, Harold Macmillan, Rab Butler and other notable Tories voted against it – including Mr Willink himself, who had by then proposed a hostile amendment to the bill.

So Mr Hunt should get his facts straight, and cease misleading his Tory brethren and the wider public.
Tom Pendry
Labour, House of Lords

Join the debate – email guardian.letters@theguardian.com

Read more Guardian letters – click here to visit gu.com/letters

Jeremy Hunt claims a Tory was the true founder of the NHS – that’s rubbish | Letter

At the recent Conservative party conference the health secretary, Jeremy Hunt, claimed that it was Henry Willink, the Tory minister for health in the wartime coalition, who introduced a white paper on a national health service in 1944, making Willink the founder of the NHS and not Nye Bevan.

My research, thanks to the House of Lords library, tells me that this is complete nonsense and that Mr Hunt is way off the mark. Mr Willink’s proposed bill was by his own admission no more than a consultative document and did not see the light of day.

Indeed, when Nye Bevan’s comprehensive national health service bill was voted into law in 1946, Sir Winston Churchill, Sir Anthony Eden, Harold Macmillan, Rab Butler and other notable Tories voted against it – including Mr Willink himself, who had by then proposed a hostile amendment to the bill.

So Mr Hunt should get his facts straight, and cease misleading his Tory brethren and the wider public.
Tom Pendry
Labour, House of Lords

Join the debate – email guardian.letters@theguardian.com

Read more Guardian letters – click here to visit gu.com/letters

Stephen Hawking blames Tory politicians for damaging NHS

Stephen Hawking has accused ministers of damaging the NHS, blaming the Conservatives in a passionate and sustained attack for slashing funding, weakening the health service though privatisation, demoralising staff by curbing pay and cutting social care support.

The renowned 75-year-old physicist was speaking to promote an address he will give on Saturday outlining how he owes his long life and achievements to the NHS care he received, and setting out his fears for a service he believes is being turned into “a US-style insurance system”.

The author of A Brief History of Time did not name any minister or political party in his general complaint, but he blamed a raft of policies pursued since 2010 by the coalition and then the Conservatives for enfeebling the NHS and leaving it unable to cope with the demands being placed on it.

“The crisis in the NHS has been caused by political decisions,” he said. “The political decisions include underfunding and cuts, privatising services, the public sector pay cap, the new contract imposed on the junior doctors and removal of the student nurses’ bursary.

“Failures in the system of privatised social care for disabled and elderly people has also placed additional burden on the NHS.”

Hawking was diagnosed with motor neurone disease at the age of 21, a story told in the film The Theory of Everything, and has increasingly relied on the NHS as his condition has deteriorated.

Felicity Jones and Eddie Redmayne star in The Theory of Everything.


Felicity Jones and Eddie Redmayne star in The Theory of Everything. Photograph: Working Title Films/Allstar

His speech at the Royal Society of Medicine will single out Jeremy Hunt, the health secretary, who claimed that 11,000 patients a year died because of understaffing of hospitals at weekends. Hawking will say that four of the eight studies cited by Hunt were not peer reviewed and that he ignored 13 papers which contradicted his statements.

“Speaking as a scientist, cherry picking evidence is unacceptable,” he will say. “When public figures abuse scientific argument, citing some studies but suppressing others, to justify policies that they want to implement for other reasons, it debases scientific culture.

“One consequence of this sort of behaviour is that it leads ordinary people not to trust science, at a time when scientific research and progress are more important than ever, given the challenges we face as a human race.”

Criticising NHS privatisation, Hawking will say that the £2.9bn spent every year by hospitals in England on temporary personnel to alleviate chronic understaffing has enriched private employment firms while denying the NHS vital funding.

“The huge increase in the use of private agency staff, for example, inevitably means that money is extracted from the system as profit for the agency, and increases costs for the whole country.”

Hawking will says he fears that private firms have gained such a large role in treating NHS patients they are now undermining its founding principles and opening the door to the Americanisation of care.

“We must prevent the establishment of a two-tier service, with the best medicine for the wealthy and an inferior service for the rest. International comparisons indicate that the most efficient way to provide good healthcare is for services to be publicly funded and publicly run.

“We see that the direction in the UK is towards a US-style insurance system, run by the private companies, and that is because the balance of power right now is with the private companies.”

Politicians need to defend the NHS and the public be encouraged to take a stand, he will say.

Demonstrators attend a rally in central London, in support of the NHS in 2017.


There have been a number of protests over cuts to the NHS in recent years. Photograph: Victoria Jones/PA

He rejects claims that the spiralling costs of treating an ageing and growing population, coupled with tight government finances, mean the NHS, which will receive £149.2bn of public funding across the UK this year, has become too expensive to continue in its present form. That idea has sparked inquiries by select committees of both houses of parliament, thinktanks and medical bodies.

“When politicians and private healthcare industry lobbyists claim that we cannot afford the NHS, this is the exact inversion of the truth. We cannot afford not to have the NHS”, he will declare.

Hawking, who is acclaimed for his work on black holes in space, works at Cambridge University as director of research at the centre for theoretical cosmology.

He will recount how staff at Addenbrooke’s hospital in Cambridge saved his life in 1985 when, suffering from pneumonia related to problems with his larynx, he was airlifted there from Switzerland where doctors had said they could not save him and that his ventilator should be turned off.

He will also tell of undergoing a risky but ultimately life-saving procedure to remove his larynx in 1999, under the surgeon David Howard at a London specialist hospital. “I have had a lot of experience of the NHS, and the care I received has enabled me to live my life as I want and to contribute to major advances in our understanding of the universe.”

Prof Sir Simon Wessely, the RSM’s president, said: “Prof Stephen Hawking’s reputation goes before him, so when a man of his extraordinary intellect but also with his equally extraordinary experience of illness, talks about the NHS and its values, we must all pay close attention.”

Responding to Hawking’s criticisms on variation in care across the week, Hunt tweeted on Friday night:

Jeremy Hunt (@Jeremy_Hunt)

Stephen Hawking is brilliant physicist but wrong on lack of evidence 4 weekend effect.2015 Fremantle study most comprehensive ever 1/2

August 18, 2017

Jeremy Hunt (@Jeremy_Hunt)

And whatever entrenched opposition,no responsible health sec could ignore it if you want NHS 2 be safest health service in world as I do 2/2

August 18, 2017

The government defended its record on the NHS and pointed to the Commonwealth Fund thinktank’s recent verdict that the service is the best out of 11 rich countries’ health systems. “This government is fully committed to a world-class NHS free at the point of use, now and in the future. That’s why we’re backing it with an extra £8bn of investment over the next five years,” a Department of Health spokeswoman said.

“Today, there are almost 11,800 more doctors and over 12,500 more nurses on our wards than there were in 2010 and the NHS is seeing 1,800 more A&E patients within the four-hour standard every single day. Despite being busy, the NHS has been ranked as the best, safest and most affordable healthcare system out of 11 wealthy nations, as analysed by the Commonwealth Fund.”

Stephen Hawking blames Tory politicians for damaging NHS

Stephen Hawking has accused ministers of damaging the NHS, blaming the Conservatives in a passionate and sustained attack for slashing funding, weakening the health service though privatisation, demoralising staff by curbing pay and cutting social care support.

The renowned 75-year-old physicist was speaking to promote an address he will give on Saturday outlining how he owes his long life and achievements to the NHS care he received, and setting out his fears for a service he believes is being turned into “a US-style insurance system”.

The author of A Brief History of Time did not name any minister or political party in his general complaint, but he blamed a raft of policies pursued since 2010 by the coalition and then the Conservatives for enfeebling the NHS and leaving it unable to cope with the demands being placed on it.

“The crisis in the NHS has been caused by political decisions,” he said. “The political decisions include underfunding and cuts, privatising services, the public sector pay cap, the new contract imposed on the junior doctors and removal of the student nurses’ bursary.

“Failures in the system of privatised social care for disabled and elderly people has also placed additional burden on the NHS.”

Hawking was diagnosed with motor neurone disease at the age of 21, a story told in the film The Theory of Everything, and has increasingly relied on the NHS as his condition has deteriorated.

Felicity Jones and Eddie Redmayne star in The Theory of Everything.


Felicity Jones and Eddie Redmayne star in The Theory of Everything. Photograph: Working Title Films/Allstar

His speech at the Royal Society of Medicine will single out Jeremy Hunt, the health secretary, who claimed that 11,000 patients a year died because of understaffing of hospitals at weekends. Hawking will say that four of the eight studies cited by Hunt were not peer reviewed and that he ignored 13 papers which contradicted his statements.

“Speaking as a scientist, cherry picking evidence is unacceptable,” he will say. “When public figures abuse scientific argument, citing some studies but suppressing others, to justify policies that they want to implement for other reasons, it debases scientific culture.

“One consequence of this sort of behaviour is that it leads ordinary people not to trust science, at a time when scientific research and progress are more important than ever, given the challenges we face as a human race.”

Criticising NHS privatisation, Hawking will say that the £2.9bn spent every year by hospitals in England on temporary personnel to alleviate chronic understaffing has enriched private employment firms while denying the NHS vital funding.

“The huge increase in the use of private agency staff, for example, inevitably means that money is extracted from the system as profit for the agency, and increases costs for the whole country.”

Hawking will says he fears that private firms have gained such a large role in treating NHS patients they are now undermining its founding principles and opening the door to the Americanisation of care.

“We must prevent the establishment of a two-tier service, with the best medicine for the wealthy and an inferior service for the rest. International comparisons indicate that the most efficient way to provide good healthcare is for services to be publicly funded and publicly run.

“We see that the direction in the UK is towards a US-style insurance system, run by the private companies, and that is because the balance of power right now is with the private companies.”

Politicians need to defend the NHS and the public be encouraged to take a stand, he will say.

Demonstrators attend a rally in central London, in support of the NHS in 2017.


There have been a number of protests over cuts to the NHS in recent years. Photograph: Victoria Jones/PA

He rejects claims that the spiralling costs of treating an ageing and growing population, coupled with tight government finances, mean the NHS, which will receive £149.2bn of public funding across the UK this year, has become too expensive to continue in its present form. That idea has sparked inquiries by select committees of both houses of parliament, thinktanks and medical bodies.

“When politicians and private healthcare industry lobbyists claim that we cannot afford the NHS, this is the exact inversion of the truth. We cannot afford not to have the NHS”, he will declare.

Hawking, who is acclaimed for his work on black holes in space, works at Cambridge University as director of research at the centre for theoretical cosmology.

He will recount how staff at Addenbrooke’s hospital in Cambridge saved his life in 1985 when, suffering from pneumonia related to problems with his larynx, he was airlifted there from Switzerland where doctors had said they could not save him and that his ventilator should be turned off.

He will also tell of undergoing a risky but ultimately life-saving procedure to remove his larynx in 1999, under the surgeon David Howard at a London specialist hospital. “I have had a lot of experience of the NHS, and the care I received has enabled me to live my life as I want and to contribute to major advances in our understanding of the universe.”

Prof Sir Simon Wessely, the RSM’s president, said: “Prof Stephen Hawking’s reputation goes before him, so when a man of his extraordinary intellect but also with his equally extraordinary experience of illness, talks about the NHS and its values, we must all pay close attention.”

Responding to Hawking’s criticisms on variation in care across the week, Hunt tweeted on Friday night:

Jeremy Hunt (@Jeremy_Hunt)

Stephen Hawking is brilliant physicist but wrong on lack of evidence 4 weekend effect.2015 Fremantle study most comprehensive ever 1/2

August 18, 2017

Jeremy Hunt (@Jeremy_Hunt)

And whatever entrenched opposition,no responsible health sec could ignore it if you want NHS 2 be safest health service in world as I do 2/2

August 18, 2017

The government defended its record on the NHS and pointed to the Commonwealth Fund thinktank’s recent verdict that the service is the best out of 11 rich countries’ health systems. “This government is fully committed to a world-class NHS free at the point of use, now and in the future. That’s why we’re backing it with an extra £8bn of investment over the next five years,” a Department of Health spokeswoman said.

“Today, there are almost 11,800 more doctors and over 12,500 more nurses on our wards than there were in 2010 and the NHS is seeing 1,800 more A&E patients within the four-hour standard every single day. Despite being busy, the NHS has been ranked as the best, safest and most affordable healthcare system out of 11 wealthy nations, as analysed by the Commonwealth Fund.”

Stephen Hawking blames Tory politicians for damaging NHS

Stephen Hawking has accused ministers of damaging the NHS, blaming the Conservatives in a passionate and sustained attack for slashing funding, weakening the health service though privatisation, demoralising staff by curbing pay and cutting social care support.

The renowned 75-year-old physicist was speaking to promote an address he will give on Saturday outlining how he owes his long life and achievements to the NHS care he received, and setting out his fears for a service he believes is being turned into “a US-style insurance system”.

The author of A Brief History of Time did not name any minister or political party in his general complaint, but he blamed a raft of policies pursued since 2010 by the coalition and then the Conservatives for enfeebling the NHS and leaving it unable to cope with the demands being placed on it.

“The crisis in the NHS has been caused by political decisions,” he said. “The political decisions include underfunding and cuts, privatising services, the public sector pay cap, the new contract imposed on the junior doctors and removal of the student nurses’ bursary.

“Failures in the system of privatised social care for disabled and elderly people has also placed additional burden on the NHS.”

Hawking was diagnosed with motor neurone disease at the age of 21, a story told in the film The Theory of Everything, and has increasingly relied on the NHS as his condition has deteriorated.

Felicity Jones and Eddie Redmayne star in The Theory of Everything.


Felicity Jones and Eddie Redmayne star in The Theory of Everything. Photograph: Working Title Films/Allstar

His speech at the Royal Society of Medicine will single out Jeremy Hunt, the health secretary, who claimed that 11,000 patients a year died because of understaffing of hospitals at weekends. Hawking will say that four of the eight studies cited by Hunt were not peer reviewed and that he ignored 13 papers which contradicted his statements.

“Speaking as a scientist, cherry picking evidence is unacceptable,” he will say. “When public figures abuse scientific argument, citing some studies but suppressing others, to justify policies that they want to implement for other reasons, it debases scientific culture.

“One consequence of this sort of behaviour is that it leads ordinary people not to trust science, at a time when scientific research and progress are more important than ever, given the challenges we face as a human race.”

Criticising NHS privatisation, Hawking will say that the £2.9bn spent every year by hospitals in England on temporary personnel to alleviate chronic understaffing has enriched private employment firms while denying the NHS vital funding.

“The huge increase in the use of private agency staff, for example, inevitably means that money is extracted from the system as profit for the agency, and increases costs for the whole country.”

Hawking will says he fears that private firms have gained such a large role in treating NHS patients they are now undermining its founding principles and opening the door to the Americanisation of care.

“We must prevent the establishment of a two-tier service, with the best medicine for the wealthy and an inferior service for the rest. International comparisons indicate that the most efficient way to provide good healthcare is for services to be publicly funded and publicly run.

“We see that the direction in the UK is towards a US-style insurance system, run by the private companies, and that is because the balance of power right now is with the private companies.”

Politicians need to defend the NHS and the public be encouraged to take a stand, he will say.

Demonstrators attend a rally in central London, in support of the NHS in 2017.


There have been a number of protests over cuts to the NHS in recent years. Photograph: Victoria Jones/PA

He rejects claims that the spiralling costs of treating an ageing and growing population, coupled with tight government finances, mean the NHS, which will receive £149.2bn of public funding across the UK this year, has become too expensive to continue in its present form. That idea has sparked inquiries by select committees of both houses of parliament, thinktanks and medical bodies.

“When politicians and private healthcare industry lobbyists claim that we cannot afford the NHS, this is the exact inversion of the truth. We cannot afford not to have the NHS”, he will declare.

Hawking, who is acclaimed for his work on black holes in space, works at Cambridge University as director of research at the centre for theoretical cosmology.

He will recount how staff at Addenbrooke’s hospital in Cambridge saved his life in 1985 when, suffering from pneumonia related to problems with his larynx, he was airlifted there from Switzerland where doctors had said they could not save him and that his ventilator should be turned off.

He will also tell of undergoing a risky but ultimately life-saving procedure to remove his larynx in 1999, under the surgeon David Howard at a London specialist hospital. “I have had a lot of experience of the NHS, and the care I received has enabled me to live my life as I want and to contribute to major advances in our understanding of the universe.”

Prof Sir Simon Wessely, the RSM’s president, said: “Prof Stephen Hawking’s reputation goes before him, so when a man of his extraordinary intellect but also with his equally extraordinary experience of illness, talks about the NHS and its values, we must all pay close attention.”

Responding to Hawking’s criticisms on variation in care across the week, Hunt tweeted on Friday night:

Jeremy Hunt (@Jeremy_Hunt)

Stephen Hawking is brilliant physicist but wrong on lack of evidence 4 weekend effect.2015 Fremantle study most comprehensive ever 1/2

August 18, 2017

Jeremy Hunt (@Jeremy_Hunt)

And whatever entrenched opposition,no responsible health sec could ignore it if you want NHS 2 be safest health service in world as I do 2/2

August 18, 2017

The government defended its record on the NHS and pointed to the Commonwealth Fund thinktank’s recent verdict that the service is the best out of 11 rich countries’ health systems. “This government is fully committed to a world-class NHS free at the point of use, now and in the future. That’s why we’re backing it with an extra £8bn of investment over the next five years,” a Department of Health spokeswoman said.

“Today, there are almost 11,800 more doctors and over 12,500 more nurses on our wards than there were in 2010 and the NHS is seeing 1,800 more A&E patients within the four-hour standard every single day. Despite being busy, the NHS has been ranked as the best, safest and most affordable healthcare system out of 11 wealthy nations, as analysed by the Commonwealth Fund.”