The prime minister’s visit to a hospital was interrupted by a parent angry over ‘years and years and years of the NHS being destroyed’.
Boris Johnson was accused of treating his visit to Whipps Cross University Hospital as a “press opportunity” and was asked if he would accept low healthcare staffing levels for his own children.
Stopping the prime minister in the hall of the Leytonstone hospital, the man said: “My daughter nearly died yesterday.”
He told Johnson about the time it had taken for the seven-day-old child to receive treatment.
“That is just not acceptable. This ward is not safe for children” said the man, adding that there was just one registrar covering two whole units. “I mean, would you like that for your own children?”
“There are not enough people on this ward,” he continued. “There are not enough doctors, there are not enough nurses, it’s not well organised enough.
“The NHS has been destroyed. It’s been destroyed.
“And now you come here for a press opportunity.”
Johnson claimed that there were no press at the hospital, and that he was visiting “to find out what we can do”.
But the parent gestured to the Press Associaton camera filming the encounter. “What do you mean there’s no press here? Who are these people?”
The father told the prime minister that it was “a bit late” to show up. He added: “I mean, years and years and years of the NHS being destroyed. And you’re telling me there’s no press here?”
“As far as I’m aware there’s not a…” began Johnson.
“This is a press opportunity,” repeated the man. “You didn’t invite the press here? You asked them to come. You’ve got a press handler back there.”
The man was then asked to move away by a manager.
A spokesperson for the prime minister said Johnson was visiting public services to see for himself the reality of the situation.
The spokesperson said the man was understandably “very distressed” and the prime minister was “not going to hide away from those circumstances when he goes on these visits, and so obviously is keen to talk to people and empathise and see what he can do to help”.
“It’s also a reminder of why exactly he is so keen to make the NHS a priority and make sure it’s getting the funding that it requires,” the spokesperson added.