Rishi Sunak Gets Stern Telling Off By Hospital Patient Over Nurses' Pay

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak speaks with patient Catherine Poole. (Photo: Leon Neal - WPA Pool via Getty Images)
Prime Minister Rishi Sunak speaks with patient Catherine Poole. (Photo: Leon Neal - WPA Pool via Getty Images)

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak speaks with patient Catherine Poole. (Photo: Leon Neal - WPA Pool via Getty Images)

Rishi Sunak was challenged by a hospital patient on nurses’ pay today and told he must “try harder”.

The female patient told him he must “look after” the NHS and support nurses during a visit to Croydon University Hospital on Friday.

Sunak, still in his first week in office, met with nurses and patients on a trip to a post-op ward.

When he asked one woman about her treatment, she replied: “You need to pay them.”

Sunak told her his government was trying, before she hit back: “You are not trying, you need to try harder.”

Sunak went on to say that the NHS was important. “Yes, and look after it,” she told him.

Sunak takes a selfie photograph with patient Sreeja Gopalan on the visit. (Photo: LEON NEAL via Getty Images)
Sunak takes a selfie photograph with patient Sreeja Gopalan on the visit. (Photo: LEON NEAL via Getty Images)

Sunak takes a selfie photograph with patient Sreeja Gopalan on the visit. (Photo: LEON NEAL via Getty Images)

He later dodged a question about nurses’ pay when quizzed by broadcasters on the visit.

Asked if he was happy that nurses were not getting a real-term increase in pay amid fears of industrial action, he said: “We face lots of challenges as a country, but I am confident that we can fix the economy and deliver on the promise of the 2019 manifesto, including having a stronger NHS.”

It comes as it was revealed Sunak had dropped a Tory leadership campaign pledge to fine patients who miss GP and hospital appointments £10.

He had previously argued it was “not right” that some patients were failing to turn up and “taking those slots away from people who need” them.

However, critics including the British Medical Association said the plans would “make matters worse”.

But on Friday, a Downing Street spokeswoman said: “The PM wants to deliver a stronger NHS and the sentiment remains that people should not be missing their appointments and taking up NHS time.

“But we have listened to GPs and health leaders and have acknowledged that now is not the right time to take this policy forward.”

This article originally appeared on HuffPost UK and has been updated.

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