Health Secretary Sajid Javid announced on Twitter on the 19th August 2021 that he was “looking forward to opening one of new 48 hospitals later today.”
Sajid Javid made his announcement while on the way to launch a new cancer care centre in Carlisle, Cumbria. The Health Secretary was not travelling to visit a new hospital. He was visiting a new cancer unit within the Cumberland Infirmary, which had been opened by then Prime Minister Tony Blair twenty years earlier.
The cancer unit had been in the pipeline years before Boris Johnson pledged to build 40 (and later 48) ‘new hospitals.’ Even Newcastle upon Tyne Hospitals Foundation Trust, which runs the new Northern Centre for Cancer Care does not describe the facility as a hospital, let alone a ‘new’ hospital.
See Full Fact for an excellent analysis which concludes that “The new building is on the site of an old part of Carlisle Infirmary, which was planned before Boris Johnson pledged to build 40 new hospitals during the 2019 election.”
Lamentable from Health Secretary Sajid Javid, whose Twitter announcement was misleading on two counts. He was on his way to open a cancer unit, not a new hospital. His statement about ’new 48 hospitals’ was equally false because it repeated the cynical lie frequently uttered by Boris Johnson and his Ministers and demolished by health experts and fact-checking websites. Examples of misleading statements by Boris Johnson in reference to building 40 new hospitals can be found here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here and here.
We gave the Health Secretary ample opportunity to respond to our judgement about his dishonest conduct, sending him two emails and ringing his press office. No response. The Health Secretary could have told the truth and tweeted that he was travelling to Carlisle to open a new cancer care centre. Instead, he chose to inform the world over Twitter that he was opening a new hospital. He compounded his misleading announcement by asserting that the new cancer care centre was “one of 48 new hospitals.” Sajid Javid made two false statements in this single Tweet. When we looked at the start of January 2022, his deceitful Tweet remained on the record, and had not been taken down from Twitter.