Sir Rod Stewart pays for patients’ scans as he calls for nurses’ wages to rise


Sir Rod Stewart has told Sky News he backs pay rises for nurses and junior doctors while warning against a move towards a US-style healthcare system.

The singer paid for members of the public to have scans at a mobile scanning unit at The Princess Alexandra Hospital in Essex today, which he pledged to do during a Sky News phone-in about the state of the NHS last month.

Speaking to Sky News presenter Sarah-Jane Mee today, he said: “There must be enough money in the coffers to pay up for these nurses.

‘Demoralised and angry’ junior doctors announce three-day strike – follow live

“Only two years ago we were clapping and now listen – they worked so hard.”

He added that counteroffers made by junior doctors in their negotiations, who have today announced a new wave of strikes, were “reasonable”.

Sir Rod Stewart takes a selfie with members of staff at the Princess Alexandra Hospital in Harlow, Essex. The musician is meeting patients and medics at the hospital after he called a phone-in segment on live Sky News in January, and offered to pay for people to have hospital scans, amid the rising number of people on NHS waiting lists. Picture date: Friday February 24, 2023.
Sir Rod Stewart has called for NHS pay rises

The government is currently holding talks with nursing unions around pay and conditions.

Sir Rod warned: “If we don’t have the NHS, it will be like the United States.

“When you go into an emergency, they say, ‘right, go through your documents’ and it’s unbelievable in America.

“It doesn’t work there either, but I think it’s working better than [it] is here at the moment – we must pull it together.”

Sir Rod, speaking about his pledge to fund scans for members of the public, said: “If this is a big success, and I think it will be, I’d like to do it in Belfast, Dublin, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Manchester and just keep it going.

“I hope some other people follow me because I want to prove I am not all mouth and no trousers – and that’s why I’m here to prove that I’ve followed through.”

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Sir Rod Stewart calls Sky News

Read more: Sir Rod Stewart ‘reflected the country’s mood’ when he called for a Labour government, Sir Keir Starmer says

When the singer phoned Sky News last month, he explained he had been to a private clinic on Harley Street in London for his own scan, but had arrived late – only to be told the clinic wasn’t busy anyway.

“I thought, this is a terrible injustice – so here we are.”

One of the patients, Edmund, whose scan was paid for by Sir Rod, said his procedure was “much needed”.

“I’ve been waiting a month, so I had a bit of problem with a sciatic nerve in my back and down my legs, which is the reason I needed help walking around,” he said.

“It’s difficult to sleep and various other things, so I’m really pleased for it to be done so we can find out what’s wrong.

“I’m retired now officially, and what have I been paying the last 40 years for? He shouldn’t be having to subsidise it to get the actual MRI scan done.”

Sir Rod Stewart during a visit to the Princess Alexandra Hospital in Harlow, Essex, where he is meeting patients and medics after he called a phone-in segment on live Sky News in January, and offered to pay for people to have hospital scans, amid the rising number of people on NHS waiting lists. Picture date: Friday February 24, 2023.

Another person who had a scan paid for by Sir Rod, Omarie, said he “starstruck” by the singer.

He added: “Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. I waited for months for the scan… on my knees. It’s amazing. God bless you and God bless him.”

When contacted by Sky News for a response to Sir Rod’s comments, the Department of Health pointed to a joint statement it released with the Royal College of Nursing on Tuesday.

This announced that the two sides had agreed to enter into “intensive talks”, during which strike action by nurses would be paused.

“Both sides are committed to finding a fair and reasonable settlement that recognises the vital role that nurses and nursing play in the National Health Service and the wider economic pressures facing the United Kingdom and the prime minister’s priority to halve inflation,” the statement said.

“The talks will focus on pay, terms and conditions, and productivity enhancing reforms.”

Sir Rod also spoke of his support for sending jets to Ukraine, saying: “If I’m going to get political, I think we should send the Ukrainians our F-16s – that’s up to you, prime minister.

“I’ve been supporting them for years – I have a flag and I wear a blue and yellow suit for a song and dedicate it to them.

“And we feel very strongly about it because if the Ukrainians lose, it’s the end of civilization as we know it. You know, it’s all over F-16s”

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