Rod Stewart has called into Sky News about NHS funding and has called on the Tories to quit government.
Stewart called into a Sky News live phone-in offering to donate money for patient scans after hearing stories from callers about their issues trying to access treatment in the NHS.
The musician said it was “ridiculous” people were waiting so long for treatment and said he would like to donate money to pay for “10 or 20 scans” for those who called in.
One caller who spoke to Sky News said she was “losing the will to live” after waiting for an appointment for three years on the NHS. “I don’t know what to do, and what worries me is that the situation for me and others could get worse,” she told the broadcaster.
In response to this and similar calls from others, Stewart told Sky News: “I personally have been a Tory for a long time but I think this government should stand down now and give the Labour Party a go, this is heartbreaking.
“In all my years in this country I’ve never seen it so bad… change the bloody government.”
Sir Rod said he would like to donate enough money to pay for “10 or 20 scans” after recounting his experience of an “empty” private scanning clinic where he went for an annual check-up.
Stewart revealed in 2019 that he was fighting prostrate cancer but was clear now “simply because I caught it early,” stressing the importance of early diagnosis for successful treatment.
“There are people dying because they cannot get scans,” he continued. “I don’t need the publicity, I just want to do some good things and this I think is a good thing. If other people follow me I would love that.”
Currently, NHS waiting times are some of the longest on record. Further strikes are planned too as nurses and ambulance workers continue to walk over over the government’s failure to agree to a wage increase.
Stewart also shared his support for striking workers saying the NHS needs to be “rebuilt with billions and billions” to overcome the crisis. “I’m on your side,” he added.
Those responding to Stewart’s comments included Labour’s Angela Rayner. “I agree with Sir Rod,” she wrote on Twitter.
Interviewed by reporters today, Rayner added that she was “humbled” by Stewart’s comments that Labour should be given a chance to lead the country.
“Rod Stewart has given a voice to many people’s frustrations at the moment, including Conservative voters,” Rayner said.
“Because what the Conservatives have shown themselves to do, especially over the last couple of years, is not what they would consider to be Conservative.
“We’ve had low growth, high taxes, we’ve had cuts to our public services, we’ve had the economy that has been crashed, so I am not surprised that Rod Stewart has looked at that, anyone can look at this government’s record and see that they’ve failed and that we need change now.”
“…The fact that Rod Stewart was able to see also the plan that Labour has is humbling for me and [Labour leader] Keir and the rest of the Labour team who knew we had to change the party, knew we had to listen to the voters and that hopefully they can see we have a plan to make things better into the future”.
Rayner added: “It is a sign, first of all, that the Conservatives are really on the wrong track and people can see that now.”
I agree with Sir Rod Stewart. https://t.co/JYRgxItZzF
— Angela Rayner 🌹 (@AngelaRayner) January 26, 2023
Labour leader Keir Starmer also responded to the news. Speaking to LBC he said: “I actually think what prompted Rod Stewart to say that was two things – this real sense that after 13 years now, pretty well everything is broken across the country, you just can’t get anything to work, and that is frustrating for everybody.
“But also when he said to this government, ‘step aside, give Labour a chance to fix this’, essentially I think there is strong sense that this government is just clapped out now. They just don’t have the energy.”
Earlier this year, Stewart revealed he turned down almost £1million to perform as part of the Qatar World Cup.
Qatar and World Cup organisers FIFA faced extensive criticism regarding the death of migrant workers in the creation of stadiums in the build up to the world cup, and the country’s views on homosexuality, which is illegal in Qatar.
“I was actually offered a lot of money, over $1m, to play there 15 months ago,” Stewart told The Sunday Times.
“I turned it down,” he revealed. “It’s not right to go.”