PM poses with Staffordshire pupils and joins school lesson as he's quizzed over state of NHS

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak was asked about the Government's plans to tackle the annual winter pressures faced by the NHS during a visit to a Staffordshire school.

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak during a visit to a chemistry class at Erasmus Darwin Academy in Burntwood
Prime Minister Rishi Sunak during a visit to a chemistry class at Erasmus Darwin Academy in Burntwood

He said extra funding would help the NHS “get on with the job” of tackling ambulance queues outside hospital A&E departments.

The PM, who promised a “bold and radical” approach to the NHS, acknowledged the problems of bed-blocking, with patients unable to be discharged into the community.

He said the £8 billion package set out in Chancellor Jeremy Hunt’s autumn statement for the NHS and social care would “tackle some of these problems”.

He was speaking at Erasmus Darwin Academy in Burntwood earlier today, where he said he was "delighted" to meet pupils and also participated in a lesson.

Prime Minsiter Rishi Sunak with students

The Prime Minister said: "I think we all recognise that the NHS is grappling with some of the challenges that we're still dealing with from Covid, and waiting long for ambulance times is one of the examples of that.

"That's why last week we announced £8 billion of extra funding for the NHS and social care to help tackle some of these problems.

"One of the most important things we need to do is support people to move out of hospitals back into their homes, back into their communities, and that's why the money that we have put in is going to go and support social care.

"And if we can do that, and we can start doing that very quickly, then that will really help alleviate some of the pressure on ambulances waiting outside hospitals. I know that the NHS are committed to delivering on it. We've given them significant funding so they can get on with the job."

The Prime Minister said he was delighted to be at the Erasmus Darwin Academy, where he met with pupils and took part in a lesson.

Rishi Sunak stopped for photos with pupils at the school

Rishi Sunak said: "As Prime Minister, it's really important to me that every one of our young people has a world-class education.

"That's why in spite of the difficult decisions that we do have to make to tackle inflation, last week we announced significant extra funding for our schools.

"That came alongside more funding for the NHS and social care too.

"Those are all the public services that are my priority and the country's priority, and they will continue to get our full support."

Asked if his plans for the NHS would help a patient who needed care after suffering a fall, the Prime Minister said: "It's absolutely important to me and to the Government that people get the healthcare they need.

"I know the NHS is the country's most important public service. I come from an NHS family, it's in my blood.

"And that's why last week, in spite of the difficult decisions that we had to make elsewhere to tackle inflation, we prioritised putting extra money into the NHS and social care so people can get the care they need as quickly as possible."

Mr Sunak visited Erasmus Darwin Academy on Monday

Asked what he would say to convince people in the Midlands who voted Tory for the first time in 2019 that the Conservatives were worth sticking with, Rishi Sunak answered: "I think most importantly now we need to make sure that we tackle inflation.

"That's the number one priority that everyone has. They are looking at the bills they are getting and wanting them to come down.

"That's why the plan that we announced last week is the right plan."

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