Rishi Sunak is confronted over nurses’ pay by a finger-wagging patient

Rishi Sunak was confronted by a patient about nurses’ pay as he toured a hospital today.

The new PM was told he needs to ‘try harder’ with the NHS by 77-year-old Catherine Poole.

Ms Poole, who is recovering from surgery and hopes to go home from Croydon University Hospital in the coming days, lectured Mr Sunak as he arrived for a chat on her ward.

As the premier crouched down and asked how she was being treated, she took the opportunity to raise the issue of salaries for nurses.

‘It’s a pity you don’t pay them more,’ Ms Poole told the PM.

The new PM was told he needs to 'try harder' with the NHS by 77-year-old Catherine Poole today

The new PM was told he needs to ‘try harder’ with the NHS by 77-year-old Catherine Poole today

Mr Sunak, wearing a mask as he toured the hospital, insisted the Government was trying.

‘You are not trying, you need to try harder,’ she said, wagging her finger.

Mr Sunak said he would ‘take that away’, going on to say that the NHS was important.

‘Yes, and look after it,’ added Ms Poole.

Thousands of nurses across the country are currently voting on walkouts, as healthcare workers demand huge pay rises amid soaring inflation.

The NHS could also be in line for a further tightening of budgets, as Chancellor Jeremy Hunt eyes ways to fill a multi-billion pound fiscal black hole.

Mr Sunak dodged a question about nurses’ pay, when pushed by broadcasters following the exchange.

Asked if he was happy that nurses are not getting a real-term increase in pay, he said: ‘It is brilliant to be here at Croydon Hospital, to see the great work of the doctors and nurses here.

‘One of the priorities for my Government is going to be tackling the Covid backlogs and supporting the NHS.

‘We face lots of challenges as a country, but I am confident that we can fix the economy and deliver on the promise of the 2019 manifesto, including having a stronger NHS.’

Mr Sunak received a more positive reaction from other patients.

At one bed, 46-year-old Sreeja Gopalan told him: ‘I am waiting to see you.’

‘I am proud of you,’ she said, as she took a selfie with the Prime Minister.

Mr Sunak received a more positive reaction from other patients.  At one bed, 46-year-old Sreeja Gopalan told him she was 'proud' and asked for a selfie

Mr Sunak received a more positive reaction from other patients.  At one bed, 46-year-old Sreeja Gopalan told him she was 'proud' and asked for a selfie

Mr Sunak received a more positive reaction from other patients. At one bed, 46-year-old Sreeja Gopalan told him she was ‘proud’ and asked for a selfie

Rishi Sunak was confronted by a patient about nurses’ pay as he toured a hospital today. The new PM was told he needs to ‘try harder’ with the NHS by 77-year-old Catherine Poole. Ms Poole, who is recovering from surgery and hopes to go home from Croydon University Hospital in the coming days, lectured Mr…

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