Rishi Sunak heckled by furious GP who tells him thousands of her colleagues will not vote Conservative

7 June 2024, 19:02 | Updated: 7 June 2024, 19:08

Jane Lees-Millais heckled Rishi Sunak
Jane Lees-Millais heckled Rishi Sunak. Picture: Alamy

By Kit Heren

Rishi Sunak has been heckled by a GP who warned him that the NHS is "disintegrating".

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Jane Lees-Millais told Mr Sunak on Friday afternoon that the NHS was "disintegrating".

Mr Sunak was seen to laugh along with someone in the crowd who made a joke at Ms Lees-Millais' expense.

During a visit by the Prime Minister to the Wiltshire town of Melksham, she told him: "I am one of 2,500 GPS in this country who are currently unemployed due to your policies.

"What are you going to do about [the fact] that 37,000 GPS will not vote Conservative, because of the constructive dismissal of general practice that is currently occurring?"

Referring to the NHS policy of employing physician associates to work in GP practices, Ms Lee-Millais, who is reported to be a Conservative member, said: "You cannot employ lesser qualified people instead of GPs. They cannot be replaced. The country is not stupid."

Speaking to reporters afterwards, Ms Lees-Millais said that she thought that Labour's plans for the NHS were not better than the Conservatives'.

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She added: ""Most people we see over the age of 40 have at least six different diseases going on at once - they cannot be tested by half qualified staff."

Mr Sunak said in response: "My dad was a GP. My mum was also a pharmacist. That’s the house I grew up in.

"My parents dedicated themselves to primary care.

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak during a visit to Melksham Town Football Club, while on the General Election campaign trail.
Prime Minister Rishi Sunak during a visit to Melksham Town Football Club, while on the General Election campaign trail. Picture: Alamy

"Whilst we’re supporting GPs, we’re supporting them with investment, digital telephony to make sure it is easier to get access to them, we are also making it easier for people to see other primary care practitioners to get the care they need.

"That’s where I will respectfully disagree with you because I do think it is right people can now see their pharmacist to get medicines for seven common ailments like sore throats.

Jane Lees-Millais (centre) heckles Prime Minister Rishi Sunak during a visit to Melksham Town Football Club, while on the General Election campaign trail
Jane Lees-Millais (centre) heckles Prime Minister Rishi Sunak during a visit to Melksham Town Football Club, while on the General Election campaign trail. Picture: Alamy

"That is an example of something we are doing to make it easier for people to get the care they need. I will always support the primary care.

"We can’t have a strong NHS without a strong economy. That is the choice at this election."

GPs have warned in recent weeks that they are not being given the right support by the government.

Dr Katie Bramall-Stainer, from the GPs' section of the union the British Medical Association, said: "In 20 years, I’ve never known GPs to be so frustrated, angry, and upset. We are unable to offer our patients the care they want and need.”

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