Conservative deputy chairman Paul Scully clashed with a BBC presenter yesterday after a photo of a sick four-year-old boy asleep on a hospital floor sparked outrage.
When asked to comment on the shocking image of Jack Williment-Barr sleeping in a pile of coats at Leeds Infirmary General, the candidate for Sutton, Cheam & Worcester Park looked uncomfortable.
“It’s terrible, no one should have to undergo that level of services in a hospital,” he said.
Quizzed on his party’s NHS funding plans, he added: “Yes we need to put more money in, that’s why we’re pledging £34billion over the next few years”
But Politics Live presenter Jo Coburn took issue with this figure, and the claim that it represents record for modern-times, stating that in real terms the government’s annual NHS spending increase was in fact worth £2.5billion.
Scully responded: “You’re talking about increases, I’m just talking about the fact that there’s more money that’s ever gone before.”
Coburn stuck with the issue of accuracy asking if the ‘correct figure’ would be used in the future when discussing NHS funding increases.
On this, Scully said: “When I took my 92-year-old mother into A+E last week I just wanted to make sure she was looked after.
“Frankly I didn’t ask if it was £32billion going in or £22billion.
“I wanted to make sure there was a doctor there that was treating her and treating her on time, in good time.
“That’s what was my main concern.
“I know there are millions of people around the country the use the NHS – it’s outcomes they want to see.”
He did not apologise specifically to the Williment-Barr family when asked and instead said:
“I can’t comment either way on a situation in Leeds from a single photo, I just want to make sure that doesn’t happen again.”
Health Secretary Matt Hancock was drawn into further controversy yesterday on a visit to Leeds Infirmary where reports emerged that his adviser had been punched in the face by a protester.
A video of the so-called attack posted on social media later disproved this and West Yorkshire Police weighed in tweeting: “We are currently unaware of any reports of this nature but are seeking to verify.”