James O’Brien: How can the PM ‘care as much’ about the NHS if he doesn’t use it himself?

22 November 2022, 14:14 | Updated: 22 November 2022, 14:20

James O'Brien says Prime Minister needs to feel the struggles of the citizens he governs for

By Phoebe Dampare Osei

James O'Brien asks how it is possible for Rishi Sunak to care as much about the NHS as others who use it if he doesn't use it himself.

James O'Brien insisted a Prime Minister needs to “go further” than others and must actually feel the struggles of the citizens he governs.

Before his call with Steve in Blackpool, James said: “The Prime Minister should know what it’s like to be you, because he’s the Prime Minister.”

Steve responded with his story of being in the army in Afghanistan.

He said: “David Cameron came to visit us. He didn’t queue up in the cookhouse like everyone else to get his breakfast…the food was taken to him, because he was the Prime Minister and he had a team around him of PAs who dealt with everything for him.”

Steve added: “Rishi Sunak is going to be the same. If he rings up a GP surgery and says ‘I need to make an appointment’, because he’s the Prime Minister, he would get preferential treatment. I can’t see how that wouldn’t happen.”

The Prime Minister has been criticised for his family’s wealth. His wife, Akshata Murty, defended her non-domicile status which meant she was not paying UK tax on her foreign income, but is now doing so.

She was also criticised for her family business continuing operations in Russia after it invaded Ukraine.

READ MORE: James O'Brien: Rishi Sunak's wealth 'unjustifiable' amid cost of living crisis

James responded: “We need a GP to confirm or deny this don't we, but it seems a pretty powerful suggestion to me - his experience is not going to be the same as yours.”

He asked: “How can you listen to a word he says about the NHS if he has no knowledge [of it] apart from when he’s banging on about how NHS his family is, despite the fact he doesn’t even use an NHS GP anymore?

“How can he care as much as you do, or I do, or a GP does - an overworked GP? How can he care as much as someone who’s struggled to get an appointment? How can he feel the need for change as keenly?”

Steve said: “The only way you’re going to get that empathy is by going through the NHS process before you become Prime Minister. As soon as you become Prime Minister, he’s not going to get the same treatment as anyone else.”

READ MORE: Nadine Dorries mocks Rishi Sunak over £3.5k suit as MP slams 'embarrassing' Tory race

He added that as Rishi Sunak’s father was a GP “that should give him an insight” into the way the NHS works and the strain it is under.

“Yeah and it’s given him such an insight he's decided he’s not going to be part of the system even though he wants to be the man in charge of it!” James responded.

There are “people who pay for privilege while knowing deep down that the privilege probably shouldn’t exist”, he added.

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