'Not really relevant': Sunak refuses to say if he uses private GP as NHS embroiled in crisis

8 January 2023, 12:14

Rishi Sunak has refused to say if he has a private GP
Rishi Sunak has refused to say if he has a private GP. Picture: Alamy

By Will Taylor

Rishi Sunak has refused to say if he uses private healthcare with the NHS embroiled in yet another crisis.

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The Prime Minister said it was "not really relevant" as he admitted the health service is "undeniably under enormous pressure".

His Government is trying to alleviate some of that by stopping future strikes by nurses and ambulance workers.

The wealthy Prime Minister, pushed on whether he had a private GP, told the BBC: "As a general policy I wouldn't ever talk about me or my family's healthcare situation.

"But it's not really relevant, what's relevant is the difference I can make to the country."

Pushed on why he wouldn't be drawn on it, Mr Sunak said the line of questioning was a "distraction from what the real issue is".

Read more: NHS facing 'intolerable' pressures which have become 'major crisis' ex-nursing chief warns

This caller says she had to spend £47,000 to get surgery

He said: "When it comes to the private sector in general, we should be making use of the independent sector. I don't have any problem with that whatsoever."

And he admitted in the interview: "The NHS is undeniably under enormous pressure and I've spent today talking to NHS leaders, all day in fact."

Health secretary Steve Barclay is due to meet with unions on Monday but Mr Sunak said only next year's pay can be settled.

He said he wants to discuss things that are "reasonable, that are affordable and responsible for the country".

Read more: Lord Sugar should run the NHS 'like a business', caller believes

Shadow health secretary Wes Streeting says Mr Sunak "gave the impression of someone who not only doesn't use the NHS but doesn't understand the scale of the challenges or have a plan to deal with the fundamental problems".

Pat Cullen, the general secretary of the Royal College of Nursing, said she was pleased the PM has agreed to meet.

"Well, the Prime Minister talked about coming to the table, now that's a move for me because I have said, let's meet halfway," she said.

"Grasp the nettle, come to the table. I can't negotiate on my own, and I can't negotiate on the airwaves.

"So if that table is now available, I will be there on behalf of the over 300,000 members that participated in this ballot.

"But it must it must be about addressing pay for 2022/23."

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