Sunak Won't Say Whether He Has a Private Doctor

Rishi Sunak receives criticism for his answer in a time when the NHS is in crisis
By Bob Cronin,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 8, 2023 3:00 PM CST
Sunak Won't Say Whether He Has a Private Doctor
UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak visits Harris Academy, in Battersea, London, on Friday.   (Henry Nicholls/Pool Photo via AP)

With the National Health Service in crisis, the UK's prime minister refuses to say whether his care is affected. Interviewed Sunday on the BBC, Rishi Sunak avoided providing a direct answer when asked whether he uses private health care, saying that's "not really relevant." Reminded that the late Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher openly discussed her decision to go to private doctors, Sunak said that health care is "something that is private." Other prime ministers, including David Cameron and Boris Johnson, have praised the care they received through the NHS.

The NHS is in crisis, and just Saturday, Sunak convened a meeting to address the situation, per the AP. His government said the session assembled "the best minds from the health and care sectors." But experts and political opponents said the problems were long in building and won't be solved quickly. More than 7 million people are awaiting hospital treatment at the moment, a record. A nurses union leader said after Sunak's interview said he "needed to come clean as a public servant" about his own arrangements, and people in the field and politicians called for transparency. Wes Streeting, the shadow health secretary—who said he does not have private health care—said the interview shows Sunak does not understand the biggest crisis in the history of the NHS. (Read more Rishi Sunak stories.)

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