AN ANGRY patient confronted health secretary Jeremy Hunt about nurses low pay on his ‘secret’ visit to Dorset hospitals, the Daily Echo understands.

The cabinet minister was accused of ‘hiding from the public’ when members of the public and the media were not told about his trip to Royal Bournemouth Hospital (RBH), Poole Hospital and Dorset County Hospital ahead of major decisions to shake-up health services in the county.

But he did not leave Dorset without a grilling from one furious patient on a ward tour at RBH who ‘laid into Hunt about nurses lack of pay increases over the years’, the Daily Echo understands.

One hospital worker told how the uncomfortable exchange over nurses wages was captured on camera but chief executive Tony Spotswood allegedly said the film will be released without the patient confrontation.

A hospital spokesman confirmed Mr Hunt did meet with a patient on his visit however due to the private nature of the meeting, he was unable to comment.

The private hospital visits were to hear how the hospitals are putting patient safety first – a key focus for the health service according to the minister.

RBH told how its Older Persons Assessment Unit has helped reduce the average length of stay in hospital from more than 10 days to six days, the introduction of new forms at Poole Hospital has led to a 26 per cent reduction in deaths from acute kidney injury and how Dorset County Hospital has reduced grade two pressure ulcers by 71 per cent.

Medical staff also got the chance to pose questions to the health secretary, covering topics including workforce, investment in social care, Brexit and its effect on staffing and the removal of bursaries for nurses in training.

Following the visit, Mr Hunt praised Dorset’s medical professionals for their ‘enthusiasm and hard work’.

He said: “It was excellent to meet NHS staff in Dorset. What really stood out was their enthusiasm and hard work to make sure colleagues at every level can speak up and take part in making your hospitals as safe as they can be.

“People across Dorset should be proud of the NHS staff who look after them.”

As previously reported there was criticism the health secretary’s visits were ‘secret’ leading some to accuse him of deliberately dodging the public and their questions ahead of major changes to the NHS in Dorset.

Dorset CCG is currently reviewing a full 250-page public consultation and decisions could be made in September.