Rishi Sunak reveals his prescription for government during visit to pharmacy

The former chancellor returned to his family’s old pharmacy and the GP surgery where his father worked.

Dominic McGrath
Wednesday 24 August 2022 19:43 BST
Rishi Sunak during a visit to his family’s old business, Bassett Pharmacy, in Southamptpn, Hampshire (Stefan Rousseau/PA)
Rishi Sunak during a visit to his family’s old business, Bassett Pharmacy, in Southamptpn, Hampshire (Stefan Rousseau/PA)

Rishi Sunak used a visit to his family’s old pharmacy in Southampton on Wednesday to portray himself as the candidate best-placed to reform the NHS.

The former chancellor was born in 1980 in Southampton, the son of parents of Punjabi descent.

His father was a family doctor and his mother ran a pharmacy, where he helped her with the books.

At that pharmacy on Wednesday in a leafy corner of Southampton, Mr Sunak was all smiles as he posed for selfies and spoke to staff now running the old family business.

While no longer in his family’s hands, the Sunak name could still be seen on a parking sign at the back of the building.

Rishi Sunak bumps into an old family friend during a visit to Bassett Pharmacy, in Southamptpn (Stefan Rousseau/PA)

Mr Sunak, who has placed his family’s immigrant experience at the centre of his pitch to the party’s grassroots, appeared to revel in the return to his old stomping ground.

Outside as he milled around outside the pharmacy in his home town, Mr Sunak received friendly greetings, a few jeers and one shout of “I love you”.

“It’s nice to be home,” he said to onlookers, before taking a tour of the former family business.

“This was the chemists that my mum used to run.

“This was the family business that I grew up in, working just behind us in the dispensary and the shop,” he told PA news agency.

Looking around, he said that the building was “much snazzier” but still familiar.

Rishi Sunak during a visit to his father’s old doctors’ surgery (Stefan Rousseau/PA)

“It really informed who I am actually, these are the values that I was brought up with, strong family, community service, small business,” he said.

“That shaped me to being the person I am today, these are my roots and it is those values that I want to bring to government.

“I want to create a country where hard work is rewarded, where families are strong and supported and where aspiration is something that is celebrated.

(PA Graphics)

“That is the type of prime minister I want to be.”

Mr Sunak also dropped in to speak to staff the old GP surgery, where his father worked for four decades.

Rishi Sunak (Stefan Rousseau/PA)

There, he re-iterated that he remained the best candidate to reform the NHS as he joked with staff that he was “very pro-pharmacy”.

Speaking outside the surgery, he said: “I grew up in an NHS family, it’s really important to me that we support the NHS.

“That’s why I did something difficult as chancellor, creating a new way to fund the NHS and social care because I want to make sure we back our fantastic doctors and nurses with the resources they need.

“But we also need to make sure we get value for money and that we are prepared to reform the NHS, make it as efficient as it can be, because that is how we are going to keep everyone’s taxes down and get the healthcare that we need.”

Rishi Sunak and leadership rival Liz Truss (Ben Birchall/Clodagh Kilcoyne/PA)

He stressed his plan to tackle missed appointments in the NHS.

“If people cancel those appointments in advance, then we will free up lots of extra healthcare capacity in our hospitals and surgeries to treat people quicker, get the backlogs down, without having to put yet more money into the NHS.”

Before speeding off to his next campaign stop, he joked with the surgery staff: “I have been busy, but a different type of busy.”

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