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Jeremy Hunt in Twitter row with Stephen Hawking

19 Août 2017

He says that the force of multinational corporations, driven by the need to make profit, is in opposition to "the force of the public, and of democracy".

Writing in The Guardian, he went on: "The NHS is in a crisis, and one that has been created by political decisions".

Jeremy Hunt has rejected Professor Stephen Hawking's allegation that he "abused" scientific research to justify the creation of a seven-day NHS.

The 75-year-old, who was diagnosed with motor neurone disease in 1962, said he "would not be here today if it were not for the service" and stressed "we can not lose" the NHS.

But Prof Hawking accused him of suppressing contradictory research to suit his argument.

"These political decisions include underfunding and cuts, privatising services, the public sector pay cap, the new contract imposed on junior doctors, and removal of the student nurses' bursary".

"When public figures abuse scientific argument, citing some studies but suppressing others to justify policies they want to implement for other reasons, it debases scientific culture".

'Political decisions such as these cause reductions in care quality, longer waiting lists, anxiety for patients and staff, and risky staff shortages.

Mr Hunt has cited studies showing that death rates are highest during weekends and he said this was the main reason behind his drive for a seven-day health service.

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He wrote: 'Hunt had cherry-picked research to justify his argument.

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

The author of A Brief History of Time was speaking ahead of a keynote speech at the Royal Society of Medicine on Saturday which will single out health secretary Jeremy Hunt for criticism.

Mr Hunt has been mocked and questioned by social media users, who said he is "trying to school the world's most famous scientist on numbers and evidence".

Hunt tweeted that Hawking was a "brilliant physicist" but was wrong about the issue.

'One effect of this sort of behaviour is that it leads ordinary people to not trust science at a time when scientific research and progress are more important than ever'.

Prof Hawking, who is director of research at the Centre for Theoretical Cosmology at the University of Cambridge, warned that Hunt's actions were harmful at a time when public support for science is "more important than ever".

The world renowned physicist said he owed his life and achievements to the NHS and blamed government policy since 2010 for weakening the health service and destroying the morale of nurses.

Jeremy Hunt in Twitter row with Stephen Hawking