A man who confronted Boris Johnson over the state of the NHS after years of austerity has said that his daughter is doing better.
Omar Salem confronted the prime minister during a visit to a children’s ward at Whipps Cross University hospital in north-east London, where his seven-day-old daughter was being treated.
Salem took the prime minister to task, complaining there were not enough doctors and nurses in a conversation lasting about two minutes.
Salem said the situation was not acceptable and told the prime minister: “My daughter nearly died yesterday. And I came here, the A&E guys were great but we then came down to this ward here and it took two hours [inaudible] and that is just not acceptable. This ward is not safe for children.
“There was one registrar covering the entirety of this ward and the neonatal unit. That is just not acceptable, is it? There are not enough people on this ward, not enough doctors, not enough nurses and it’s not well organised enough.”
Salem tweeted on Saturday: “Our daughter is very much better, which is a great relief.
“Thank you to the ambulance/A&E staff and the ward staff who cared for her over the last few days. She will be in hospital for a while longer for precautionary reasons. Thank you for all the messages of love & support.”
During his conversation with Johnson, Salem accused the Conservative government of wrecking the NHS while using its hospitals as a backdrop for political campaigning.
He said: “The NHS has been destroyed … and now you come here for a press opportunity.”
Johnson said: “There’s no press here.” But Salem gestured to cameras filming the confrontation, and said: “What do you mean there’s no press here? Who are these people?”
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.”
Salem, who is a Labour activist and came under fire from some on social media after video of the incident emerged, later tweeted: “Boris Johnson had the temerity to come to Whipps Cross hospital for a press opportunity on the children’s ward that my seven-day-old daughter is on, having been admitted to A&E yesterday gravely ill. The A&E team were great but she then went for hours on the ward without seeing a doctor.”
Salem said his role as a Labour activist should not be used to discount his complaints about his daughter’s treatment.
A hospital doctor working on the ward, who was present at Johnson’s visit, backed up Salem’s account, in an interview with the Guardian: “Obviously this was a totally contrived press opportunity – he was shown by far the nicest ward in the hospital.
“I am a medical doctor working at the hospital and the lack of resources, levels of underfunding and understaffing are beyond belief.”