London Daily

Focus on the big picture.

Rishi Sunak refuses to say if he uses private GP

Rishi Sunak refuses to say if he uses private GP

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has repeatedly refused to say whether he uses private healthcare, insisting it is "not really relevant".

Mr Sunak told the BBC's Sunday with Laura Kuenssberg programme that his healthcare was "a personal choice".

Nursing union leader Pat Cullen said the PM "needed to come clean as a public servant".

And when asked the same question, shadow health secretary Wes Streeting said he did not use private healthcare.

In the interview, Laura Kuenssberg suggested there was huge public interest in Mr Sunak's decisions and that former Conservative prime minister Margaret Thatcher was open about her choice to use a private GP.

Mr Sunak said healthcare was "something that is private", adding he "grew up in an NHS family", with a dad who was GP, and a mum who was a pharmacist.

But when pressed again, Mr Sunak did not answer the question and instead said, in general, "we should be making use of the independent sector" so patients could choose where they have treatment.

A newspaper report in November last year suggested Mr Sunak was registered with a private GP practice that offers on-the-day appointments and charges £250 for a half-hour consultation.

The latest NHS figures show that, in November last year, 58% of NHS patients were not seen on the day they made an appointment.

At the same time, a record high of more than seven million people are waiting for hospital treatment, as the NHS faces one of the worst winters in its history.

Ms Cullen, the general secretary of the Royal College of Nursing, said public servants "ought to be clear with the public whether or not you are using private health cover".

"That's about being open, it's about being transparent and it's about honesty," she said.

Mr Streeting said the PM's answer to the question about his healthcare showed him to be someone who did not understand the biggest crisis in NHS history.

He said private healthcare created a two-tier system, but patients were free to make their own choices about treatment.

Mr Sunak has said he has a policy of not commenting on his family's healthcare arrangements, when asked previously.

Laura Kuenssberg said there was likely to be a political row over Mr Sunak's personal healthcare choices.

One former minister told the BBC presenter: "[Mr Sunak's] lack of transparency shows he thinks going private is a problem. It is - he's taking decisions on public spend that affect a version of 'the public' that he's not willing to be part of."

Some of Mr Sunak's predecessors have made a point of drawing attention to their use of the NHS when they were prime minister.

David Cameron often spoke about how the NHS cared for his disabled son, while Boris Johnson said the health service saved his life after he fell seriously ill with Covid.

But when Mrs Thatcher was prime minister she was candid about her use of private health insurance, which she said was vital for her to "go into hospital on the day I want, at the time I want, and with a doctor I want".

Mr Sunak was interviewed as senior doctors warn of a NHS on a knife edge, with health workers striking over pay and some hospitals in crisis.

A sharp rise in Covid-19 and flu admissions in recent weeks has put pressure on hospitals, which are also dealing with a backlog of treatment that built up during the pandemic.

A&E waits and ambulance delays are at their worst levels on record.

In Sunday's interview, Mr Sunak acknowledged the NHS was "undeniably under enormous pressure".

When asked if the NHS was "in crisis", he said while recovering from the pandemic "was going to be tough", he was optimistic "we can get to grips with this problem".

In his new year speech this week, Mr Sunak said bringing down NHS waiting lists was one of his five top priorities and has since held talks with health leaders to alleviate the crisis.


Watch: Rishi Sunak refuses to to say if he is registered with private GP

Watch: PM gives impression that he doesn't use NHS - Wes Streeting


Newsletter

Related Articles

London Daily
0:00
0:00
Close
EU to Transfer Interest from Frozen Russian Funds to Ukraine
Greenpeace Co-Founder Paul Watson Arrested in Greenland
EU Relocates Summit to Punish Hungary over Orban's Ukraine Visit
Netanyahu Seeks Meeting with Trump During Washington Visit
World's Hottest Day Recorded on July 21
UK Labour Government To Halt Migrant Housing on Accommodation Barge
President Biden Returns to White House After Testing COVID Negative
Trump Says Kamala Harris Would Be Easier Election Opponent Than Biden
Thousands Protest in Mallorca Against Mass Tourism
Immigration Crackdown Targets Car Washes and Beauty Sector
Nigeria's Controversial Return to Colonial-Era National Anthem
Hacking Vulnerabilities: Androids vs. iPhones
Ukraine Crisis Should Be EU's Responsibility, Says Trump’s Envoy
A Week of Turmoil: Key Moments in US Politics
Barrow's Sacred Heart Primary School Faces Long-Term Closure
German National Sentenced to Death in Belarus
Elon Musk's Companies Drop CrowdStrike After Global Windows 10 Outage
US Advises India on Russian Ties Amid Geopolitical Shifts
Trump Pledges to End Ukraine Conflict if Reelected
Global IT Outage Unveils Digital Vulnerabilities
Global IT Outage Sparks Questions About Financial Accountability
CrowdStrike Bug Affects 8.5 Million Windows Devices
Flights Resume After Major Microsoft Outage
US Criticizes International Court's Opinion on Israeli Occupation
CrowdStrike Update Causes Global IT Outage Due to Skipped Quality Checks
EU’s Patronizing Attitude Towards Africa Revealed
Netanyahu Denounces World Court Ruling on Israeli Occupation
Adidas Drops Bella Hadid Over Controversy
Global Outage Caused by CrowdStrike Update Impacts Millions
Massive Flight Cancellations Across the U.S. Due to Microsoft Outage
Global Windows Outage Causes Chaos Across Banks, Airlines, and More
Russia Accuses Ukraine of Using Chemical Weapons
UK's Flawed COVID-19 Planning Exposed by Inquiry
Ursula von der Leyen Wins Second Term as European Commission President
Police Officer Injured in Attack in Central Paris
Hulk Hogan absolutely tore it up at the RNC.
Paris is being "cleansed" of migrants and homeless people ahead of the Olympics.
Lamine Yamal arriving at his school after winning the Euros
Campaigners Urge UK Government to Block Shein's London IPO
UK Labour Government's Legislative Agenda
UK Labour Government to Regulate Powerful AI Models
Record Heat Temperatures in Ukraine Amid Power Crisis
UK Government Plans to Remove 92 Hereditary Peers from House of Lords
King Charles III Delivers Labour Government's First King's Speech
Officials Remove 'Disastrous' Label from Liz Truss's Mini-Budget
Keir Starmer Outlines Ambitious Plans for Government
Japan to Allocate $3.3 Billion to Ukraine Using Frozen Russian Assets
EU Parliament Condemns Hungarian PM's Russia Visit
FBI Struggles to Find Motive Behind Trump Shooting Incident
Kremlin Criticizes EU Rejection of Orban’s Ukraine Peace Proposal
×