Downing Street has refused to say if multi-millionaire Rishi Sunak has private health insurance.
Unions say the NHS is on its knees, with new figures today showing the number of people waiting to start routine hospital treatment has hit a new record.
And the number of people having to wait longer than a year to start hospital treatment was 401,537 in September, up from 387,257 the previous month.
It is the equivalent of around one in 18 people on the entire waiting list.
Asked if the Prime Minister had private medical insurance yesterday, his press secretary said: “I actually don’t know the answer to that question.”
But she added: “I don’t think you would expect me to comment on medical things relating to the Prime Minister.”
Asked if he had gone private for any treatments to skip waiting lists, she replied: “I honestly don’t know.”
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It came after a question in PMQs to the Prime Minister – who with his wife Akshata Murty has a £730m fortune putting among the 250 richest people in Britain.
Labour ’s Karl Turner asked if the PM would “pay privately and see somebody there and then” if he or someone in his family became unwell.
Or “would he start ringing the GP surgery at 8 o’clock each morning to not get an appointment?” asked the Labour MP.
“Would he go off to accident and emergency and wait 12 hours to be seen, would he call an ambulance that would not come?”
The PM replied that Friarage Hospital in Northallerton “have provided excellent care to my family over the years”.
In the summer leadership campaign he dodged a question over when he last used the NHS but insisted “of course” his family use it.
Mr Sunak said in July: “You wouldn’t expect me to talk about my kids’ medical but of course we use the NHS.
“My dad spent his entire career as an NHS GP, my mum was a chemist, my whole extended family one way or another work in healthcare.
“That was the family I was raised in.”
The Prime Minister is threatening cutbacks in all departments including health in next week’s Autumn Statement.
And he is refusing to back nurses’ demands for an above-inflation pay rise after they voted for their first nationwide strike in England.
He has told his Cabinet he “would always support the NHS and that they would continue to be prioritised as difficult decisions are taken on spending.”
But he added: “In return it was right to look at further ways to improve the service the public receive and that he was confident this could be achieved.”
He has also declined to bring back his 1.25-point rise in National Insurance, which was due to raise £12bn-a-year for NHS and care but was axed by Liz Truss.
During PMQs he insisted: “I want to make sure that everyone gets the care they need, and we will continue to invest in more doctors, more nurses and more community scans so that we can deliver exactly that.”
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