Rishi Sunak says he is registered with NHS GP but has previously used private healthcare

 (Sky News)
(Sky News)

Rishi Sunak has told MPs he is registered with an NHS GP, but admitted using private healthcare.

The Prime Minister has repeatedly dodged questions about whether he pays to see a doctor as the NHS faces a staffing crisis and strikes.

Previously he has refused to answer questions about whether he has private healthcare provision, insisting it is “not really relevant”.

At Prime Minister’s Questions Mr Sunak said: “I am registered with an NHS GP. I have used independent healthcare in the past and I’m also grateful to the Friarage Hospital for the fantastic care they have given my family over the years.

“The truth is I am proud to come from an NHS family and that’s why I’m passionately committed to protecting it with more funding, more doctors and nurses, and a clear plan to cut the waiting lists.”

Asked why the Prime Minister had now decided to disclose his healthcare arrangements, a spokeperson for Mr Sunak said: "In principle, he believes that the personal health details of individuals should remain private, but given the level of interest and in the interests of transparency he has set out that he is registered with a NHS GP.”

The spokesperson repeatedly refused to be drawn on when he had used private healthcare or when he had registered with an N HS GP.

She added: "He has used private healthcare in the past. He doesn't have private healthcare cover. I am not going to get into timelines."

The comment followed a question from Labour MP Cat Smith said there are no NHS dentists taking on patients in her Lancaster and Fleetwood constituency, adding: “For those constituents of mine lucky enough to have one, they’re waiting months for an appointment.

“So, can I ask the Prime Minister how long he had to wait for his last NHS dentist appointment?”

Mr Sunak replied: “As a result of the new reformed NHS dentistry contract there are now more NHS dentists across the UK with more funding making sure people can get the treatment they need.”

A spokesman for Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer said “clearly there’s public interest in transparency on this” but added that he wouldn’t get into individual health choices.

Labour focused on the crisis facing the NHS during a heated PMQs.

Unison members at the London Ambulance Service were among thousands of paramedics and support staff walking out across the UK, by staging a 12 hours strike from 11am on Wednesday in a dispute over pay.

Nurses will represented by the Royal College of Nursing are set to begin a second round of strike action in England on January 18.

Sir Keir claimed the Government had "gone from clapping the nurses to sacking the nurses" as he quoted a Government report that said long NHS waiting times were a result of "10 years of managed decline".

"As a result, 7.2 million people are now waiting for treatment,” he said. “He says he wants to be held to account over that.

"So, let's be very clear, is his promise merely to get those numbers back to where they were before Covid - that is 4.6 million - or back to where Labour had them in 2010, almost half of that? Which is it?"

Rishi Sunak replied: "We have a very clear plan to bring the waiting lists down and it is one that the NHS supports.

"I tell you what the NHS doesn't need, what they don't need is Labour's only idea, which is for another completely disruptive, top-down, unfunded reorganisation buying out every single GP contract."