Medical student ‘pushed aside by Boris Johnson aide’ when she tried to confront PM at hospital

Prime minister ‘too cowardly’ to deal with opinion of staff who have seen impact of government cuts, says trainee doctor

Harry Cockburn
Friday 01 November 2019 14:17
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Junior Doctor who was 'pushed aside' when she tried to talk to Boris Johnson calls his visit a 'PR stunt'

A medical student has said she was “pushed away” during Boris Johnson’s visit to a hospital in Cambridge, when she confronted him on future drug accessibility for the NHS and the climate crisis.

During the prime minister’s visit to Addenbrookes hospital in Cambridge, during which he said the UK would leave the European Union by January “at the absolute latest” he was filmed being booed, and accused of using the hospital for a PR stunt.

Julia Simons, who is training at the hospital to become a doctor, told journalists afterwards the prime minister was “too cowardly” to face dealing with the real opinions of staff working in an NHS which has been subject to funding cuts and seen more services privatised.

She said: “I was told I wasn’t allowed to ask him any questions, which I think is a really good sign it was a PR stunt.

“People who work in this hospital know the reality of cuts. I’m a medical student, I don’t know the reality of cuts in the way these people do – they were all really angry to hear he’s coming here for a PR stunt, because we know what cuts have done to our NHS. We know the NHS is being privatised even if it’s not explained in explicit terms.”

Asked how staff in the hospital had responded to the visit, Ms Simons said: “We weren’t told he was coming and I think that’s a really big sign, because as Prime Minister you should be proud of how you are leading your country. We were told we weren’t allowed to know he was here. I happened to be [in the right place] at the time.

“As doctors we practice evidence-based medicine, and politics should be evidence-based too, and yet the health outcomes from his policy changes show evidence-wise, that doesn’t work.

“He’s too much of a coward to actually speak to any real members of staff.”

Green Party MEP for the South West, Molly Strood, said her son worked at the hospital and confirmed staff had not been informed of the visit.

Writing on Twitter, she said: “My son works at Addenbrookes and confirms this is the case

“Staff were not told Johnson was coming and were outraged to be used as stage set for his election campaign.

“In the most pro-Remain city in the whole country.

“Wonderful job booing him out of their hospital.”

The Department of Health has been approached for comment.

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