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Hunt criticises NHS over unexplained deaths

Health secretary Jeremy Hunt Credit: Neil Hall / PA Wire/Press Association Images

The health secretary has slammed the NHS over allegations health bosses failed to investigate the unexpected deaths of more than 1,000 people since 2011.

Responding to an urgent question in the House of Commons, Jeremy Hunt called it "totally and utterly unacceptable".

A leaked investigation reportedly found the deaths of mental health and learning-disability patients were not properly examined, following a "failure of leadership" at Southern Health NHS Foundation Trust.

Jeremy Hunt said it was "totally and utterly unacceptable that, according to the leaked report, only 1% of the unexpected deaths of patients with learning disabilities were investigated".

He added that a range of measures would be introduced to prevent a repeat, including "Ofsted-style" ratings for quality of care for people with disabilities.

He added that an independent study had been commissioned to investigate the mortality rates of people with learning disabilities in NHS care, and had already promised to publish annual figures on avoidable death.

Shadow health secretary Heidi Alexander said: "These are truly shocking revelations that if proven reveal deep failures at Southern Health NHS Foundation Trust."

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Planned junior doctors strike called off at final hour

The strike was due to take place on December 1. Credit: PA

The junior doctors strike due to begin on Tuesday has been called off at the final hour .

Conciliation service Acas said a deal had been reached following five days of talks.

This means planned walk-outs on December 1, 8 and 16 will now be averted.

Under the agreement NHS employers agreed to extend the time frame for contract negotiations until January 13 next year.

An Acas spokesman said: "Acas is pleased that the talks have been held in a constructive manner and cooperative spirit between the parties, that will allow an improvement in industrial relations."

Hunt 'reserves right' to impose contracts on junior doctors

Credit: PA

Junior doctors may still have a new contract imposed on them by the Government despite a potential agreement being reached that could avert strike action, the Health Secretary has warned.

Speaking in the House of Commons, Jeremy Hunt insisted he must retain the right to impose new terms at some point despite the "time-limited" agreement for the British Medical Association (BMA) to suspend strike action if the Government agrees not to impose a new contract.

Mr Hunt also denied claims that he had mishandled the dispute after Labour claimed that disruption caused to patients by cancelled operations could have been avoided had he agreed to mediated talks earlier in the process.

BMA executive meeting to discuss government 'time out' proposal

The junior doctors executive committee is meeting now to decide whether to halt a planned strike and accept the government's proposal for further talks.

Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt told MPs in the Commons there had been a "time-limited" agreement made this afternoon for further talks, where the BMA would suspend strike action if the Government agrees not to impose a new contract on doctors.

Junior doctors strike: 'Potential agreement reached'

A potential agreement has been reached between the British Medical Association and the government, which could mean planned junior doctors strikes will be suspended, Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt has said.

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