Parent of sick child confronts Boris Johnson over 'years and years of the NHS being destroyed'

18 September 2019, 12:49

By Sylvia DeLuca

A father of a sick child has accused Boris Johnson of visiting a north-east London hospital for a "press opportunity", saying the lack of doctors and nurses in wards is 'not acceptable'.

The Prime Minister was challenged by a angry parent whilst visiting the children's ward at Whipps Cross University Hospital in north-east London.

The father said the situation was "not acceptable" and told the Prime Minister: "There are not enough people on this ward, there are not enough doctors, there's not enough nurses, it's not well organised enough.

"The NHS has been destroyed ... and now you come here for a press opportunity."

Mr Johnson said "there's no press here" but the parent gestured to cameras filming the confrontation, and said: "What do you mean there's no press here, who are these people?"

The father of a young girl, who is being treated in the Acorn childrens' ward, expresses his anger over hospital waiting times to Prime Minister Boris Johnson.
The father of a young girl, who is being treated in the Acorn childrens' ward, expresses his anger over hospital waiting times to Prime Minister Boris Johnson. Picture: PA

The Prime Minister explained he was "here to find out" about the situation but the man said: "It's a bit late isn't it? Years and years and years of the NHS being destroyed."

A spokesman for the Prime Minister said Mr Johnson was visiting public services to see for himself the reality of the situation.

The spokesman said the man was understandably "very distressed" and the Prime Minister was "not going to hide away from those circumstances when he goes on these visits, and so obviously is keen to talk to people and empathise and see what he can do to help".

"It's also a reminder of why exactly he is so keen to make the NHS a priority and make sure it's getting the funding that it requires," the spokesman added.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson meets a young patient during a visit to Whipps Cross University Hospital in Leytonstone, east London.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson meets a young patient during a visit to Whipps Cross University Hospital in Leytonstone, east London. Picture: PA

The hospital visit came amid what may be a difficult few days for the prime minister, as his decision to prorogue Parliament is challenged in the Supreme Court.

The court battle over the suspension of Parliament

At the end of last month, the prime minister moved to suspend parliament ahead of the opening of a new session.

Mr Johnson asked the Queen to approve a suspension of five weeks, which is a much longer period than usual.

Opponents decided to fight Mr Johnson's decision in court, as they believed the aim was to stop MPs examining Mr Johnson's Brexit strategy and frustrate their efforts to prevent him taking Britain out of the EU on 31 October without a deal.

A total of three legal challenges were launched.

Three judges of the Inner House, the supreme civil court in Scotland, ruled the PM's decision to suspend parliament was unlawful.

A similar case brought by the businesswoman and Brexit campaigner Gina Miller was heard at the High Court in London.

It was rejected, with the court ruling that suspending parliament was "inherently political in nature and there are no legal standards against which to judge the legitimacy".

Gina Miller arrives at the Supreme Court, London, where judges are considering legal challenges to Prime Minister Boris Johnson's decision to suspend Parliament.
Gina Miller arrives at the Supreme Court, London, where judges are considering legal challenges to Prime Minister Boris Johnson's decision to suspend Parliament. Picture: PA

A third legal bid was launched by a Northern Ireland victims' campaigner, who argued a no-deal Brexit would damage the peace process.

Raymond McCord's challenge was dismissed by the High Court in Belfast.

Now the Supreme Court in London is hearing the government's appeal against the Scottish court decision.

A panel of 11 justices is considering the case, along with Mrs Miller's case, over the course of three days.

The government's lawyers will say Boris Johnson acted lawfully when he prorogued parliament for five weeks to start a new session.

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