‘Do you have a nurses tree too?’ Johnson interrogated in hospital by group of sceptical staff

'Where are these people going to come from?' asks one

Zoe Tidman
Thursday 28 November 2019 10:52 GMT
Boris Johnson meets nurses in Penzance

Boris Johnson has been confronted by sceptical nurses while campaigning in a hospital over his pledge to boost their ranks in the NHS by tens of thousands.

“Do you have a nurses tree too?” one nurse inquired, as the prime minister outlined his plans to add 50,000 nurses at West Cornwall Hospital.

The pledge, announced as part of the Tory manifesto on Sunday, immediately became embroiled in controversy when it became clear it included 18,500 nurses who already work in the NHS.

Mr Johnson to staff at the Penzance hospital that the plan was “fully costed”, but one probed again: “Where are these people going to come from?”

ITV showed the PM facing the interrogation over a cup of tea during the face-to-face meeting with medical staff on the campaign trail.

He said he hoped to fill the recruitment drive with people who have grown up in the UK, but "we’ve also got to make sure we are open to people from around the world”.

Twitter users were quick to note the nurses’ body language during the short exchange. “They don’t look convinced,” said one. Another replied: “Her face says it all.”

One woman also told the prime minister she was a student nurse and struggling financially.

When Mr Johnson reinstated his plans to bring back the nursing bursary, she pressed him on tuition fees.

Nurse asks Boris Johnson to reduce tuition fees

“I’ll have to check that,” he said.

At the manifesto launch, the prime minister said his government would reintroduce maintenance grants, which were scrapped in 2017.

Trainee nurses would still have to pay tuition fees, however, which did not exist before 2017.

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