Hospital staff heckle Boris Johnson over his nurses pledge

Prime Minister Boris Johnson meets staff at West Cornwall Community Hospital. Photograph: Stefan Rou

Prime Minister Boris Johnson meets staff at West Cornwall Community Hospital. Photograph: Stefan Rousseau/PA Wire. - Credit: PA

Boris Johnson has been heckled at a hospital over his pledge to bring 50,000 more nurses into the NHS - with staff themselves asking if he has a 'nurses tree'.

Visiting a hospital in Penzance, West Cornwall the nurses had questions from the prime minister over his much-derided announcement to bring in 50,000 new nurses.

"So you have a nurses tree too! As well as a money one?" said one to Johnson in front of an ITV News camera as he sat down with them over a cup of tea.

Another, refusing to shake his hand, said: "If you get elected and keep your promises, then I'll shake your hand."

Johnson was also questioned on the issue by student nurses in the same hospital.

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"Where are these people going to come from?", they asked.

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The PM replied: "I think we should have a programme of making sure that people who have grown up in this country have a career in nursing ... we've also got to make sure that we are open to people from around the world, and we can do that and we're going to have an immigration system that is points-based."

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The prime minister also heard how student nurses were "struggling" because of rises in tuition fees under the Tories, and their decision to scrap the nursing bursary.

Johnson said: "We're definitely bringing back the bursary ... but I'll have to check that (on tuition fees)."

The Tories' initial pledge was to bring in "50,000 more nurses" but it actually transpired the figure includes 18,500 existing nurses who will be encouraged to remain in the NHS or attracted back.

The Liberal Democrats described the pledge as "dishonest" as the detail unravelled.

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