Jeremy Hunt failed to attend any of the meetings of the Department of Health’s board in the 2015-16 financial year, amid junior doctors' strikes and NHS disruption.
The departmental board met on seven occasions in 2015-16 with additional visits arranged for non-executive board meetings.
The meetings, attended by the chief medical officer, NHS directors and senior civil servants, review the performance of the NHS and analyse strategic issues and risks for the service.
Table 19 in the department's annual report showed the board attendance:
Hmmm. Bagel for seven there, Jeremy.
Not to worry, everything's going swimmingly, isn't it?
The report said of Mr Hunt's absence:
Secretary of State has gained the assurance over the running of the Department through focused meetings on his priorities with senior colleagues from our ALBs.
Shadow Health Minister Justin Madders MP said:
It’s a bit rich of Jeremy Hunt to attack junior doctors when he seems to have been on strike himself for the last year.
While NHS performance is hitting record lows, it is shocking that the Secretary of State can’t even be bothered to turn up to work and sort these serious problems out.
If he is serious about delivering a seven-day NHS, he could start by at least being a five-day Secretary of State.
A spokesperson for the Department of Health told indy100:
The Secretary of State has set out a vision for the NHS to be the safest, highest-quality healthcare system in the world, and meets weekly with senior staff, including those who sit on the Departmental Board, to take advice and give direction. The Board’s purpose, meeting quarterly, is to support him in that work.