Jeremy Hunt is left humiliated after trying to takedown Stephen Hawking’s scientific analysis [TWEETS]

Support us and go ad-free

Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt has been left humiliated after trying to takedown Stephen Hawking’s scientific analysis. The renowned physicist first accused Hunt of making a mockery of science for political gain:

Speaking as a scientist, cherry picking evidence is unacceptable. 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.

Hunt then tried to counter Hawking on social media:

Read on...

Support us and go ad-free

On social media, people reacted with disbelief:

The MP for South West Surrey claims that 11,000 patients die annually because of understaffing at weekends. But Hawking disputes this, as The Guardian reports:

Hawking will say that four of the eight studies cited by Hunt were not peer reviewed and that he ignored 13 papers which contradicted his statements.

Still, Hunt appears eager to uphold his claim about increased mortality at the weekend. Hawking will expand on the implications of such behaviour, in his speech at the Royal Society of Medicine:

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.


Hawking will also be very critical of NHS privatisation, which campaigners say is the ultimate aim of Conservative health policy. The aim of privatisation might be why Hunt so readily challenges Hawking on the studies. Critics argue the Conservative government uses the “7-day NHS” buzzword to obfuscate its chronic underfunding of the service. Focusing attention on patient-centred progress disguises the privatisation agenda.

Hawking will say:

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.

‘Towards a US-style insurance system’

The author of A Brief History of Time will also warn of the NHS becoming ‘Americanised’:

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.

International comparisons do suggest Hawking is correct. In 2014, the US spent 17.1% of its GDP on healthcare – without providing cover to all Americans. In the same year, the UK spent just 9.1% of its GDP on healthcare, while providing universal cover. The major difference across the Atlantic is that private companies are making huge profits. Whereas if healthcare is public, we can reinvest profits into the service.

Hawking is spot on to challenge the Conservative government’s ideological destruction of our healthcare. With privateers like Virgin Care and Care UK circling like vultures, the NHS will only be around as long as we fight for it.

Get Involved!

– Read more Canary articles on Health, and the NHS.

– You can also take action with Keep Our NHS Public.

– And furthermore support us if you appreciate the work we do.

Featured image via Flickr and Wikimedia

Support us and go ad-free

We know everyone is suffering under the Tories - but the Canary is a vital weapon in our fight back, and we need your support

The Canary Workers’ Co-op knows life is hard. The Tories are waging a class war against us we’re all having to fight. But like trade unions and community organising, truly independent working-class media is a vital weapon in our armoury.

The Canary doesn’t have the budget of the corporate media. In fact, our income is over 1,000 times less than the Guardian’s. What we do have is a radical agenda that disrupts power and amplifies marginalised communities. But we can only do this with our readers’ support.

So please, help us continue to spread messages of resistance and hope. Even the smallest donation would mean the world to us.

Support us

Comments are closed