'I think it is amazing that we are blaming the increase in waiting lists on doctors going on strike'
Rishi Sunak has endured a bruising live phone-in during his appearance on LBC this morning, as he took questions from callers.
Among those calling in was a junior doctor, Olivia, who slammed the government over the staffing crisis in the NHS as well as over plummeting staff morale, after the Prime Minister tried to pin the blame for waiting lists on striking NHS staff.
Olivia, who said she has been a junior doctor for 10 years, told the PM: “Frontline services are so stretched that we are in the position that you have had almost all healthcare workers going on strike this year. How do you think your refusal to negotiate with us improves morale or standards of care?”
A frustrated Sunak replied: “You and I are sadly going to just disagree on this but I’m proud of what we’ve done, we’ve invested record sums in the NHS since I became Prime Minister.”
He added: “Over a million NHS workers have accepted the Government’s pay deal, many of them on salaries and incomes far lower than consultants and indeed Olivia and her colleagues, that’s just the reality of it.”
Sunak went on to say: “There are a few exceptions including junior doctors and consultants – that’s what’s causing the waiting lists to go up.”
Olivia hit back: “I think it is amazing that we are blaming the increase in waiting lists on doctors going on strike. You’re losing staff because we are undervalued, and it’s not just doctors, it’s everyone, we are all leaving. A happy workforce is your responsibility. You’re the Prime Minister, you’re the Government, your staff aren’t happy – that’s your fault and ultimately that’s not good for patients.”
Basit Mahmood is editor of Left Foot Forward
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