Rishi Sunak’s healthcare not in ‘public interest’, as Downing Street fails to deny PM uses private medics

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The questions over Rishi Sunak’s own medical care arose as warnings grow about the current “intolerable” situation for patients and staff in the NHS.

Downing Street failed to deny Rishi Sunak uses private healthcare, saying his medical arrangements are not in the public interest.

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Downing Street on Tuesday said it was “wholly wrong” to suggest that Sunak was not aware of the challenges facing the health service. The questions over Sunak’s own medical care arose as warnings grow about the current “intolerable” situation for patients and staff in the NHS.

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak speaks to members of the media during his visit to Croydon University Hospital in south London. Credit: LEON NEAL/POOL/AFP via Getty ImagesPrime Minister Rishi Sunak speaks to members of the media during his visit to Croydon University Hospital in south London. Credit: LEON NEAL/POOL/AFP via Getty Images
Prime Minister Rishi Sunak speaks to members of the media during his visit to Croydon University Hospital in south London. Credit: LEON NEAL/POOL/AFP via Getty Images | POOL/AFP via Getty Images

The Prime Minister’s official spokesman on Monday was pressed on whether Sunak did or did not have “first-hand experience” of the publicly funded healthcare system.

“You’ll know we don’t get into the PM’s personal affairs in that way, as you would expect,” he told reporters. “I think it would be wholly wrong to claim the Prime Minister is not fully aware of the challenges our health service is facing. It is why he has prioritised funding for the NHS in the autumn statement at a time of constrained public finances. The Prime Minister has a number of meetings very regularly on the NHS. It is one of his top priorities.”

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Pressed on whether it was in the public interest for people to know about Sunak’s healthcare arrangements, the spokesman said: “No, I don’t think getting into medical issues for a prime minister’s family is in the public interest.”

Shadow Health and Social Care Secretary Wes Streeting said recently: “It is a disgrace that patients are spending 24 hours in A&E, suspected heart attack and stroke victims are waiting around an hour for an ambulance, and that patients have waited longer for cancer care every year since 2010.

“The next Labour government will agree a plan with the NHS to bring down waiting times to safe and acceptable levels, and begin working towards them straight away. At the heart of that plan will be our pledge to train a new generation of doctors and nurses, paid for by abolishing the non-dom tax status.”

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