“BBC presenter Andrew Marr confronted Theresa May over the state of the NHS, suggesting he could have died if he had waited five hours for an ambulance following his own stroke.
The political broadcaster, 58, who suffered a stroke in January 2013, pressed the PM on the crisis, which has led to thousands of routine operations being cancelled in January as the health service struggles to cope with winter pressures.
It comes after the East of England Ambulance Service apologised following the death of a pensioner, 81, in Essex who was left waiting nearly four hours for a crew of paramedics.
Appearing in a pre-recorded interview on the BBC’s Andrew Marr show on Sunday morning, the Prime Minister acknowledged more needs to be done, telling the interviewer: “Of course nothing’s perfect and there is more for us to do.”
Mr Marr claimed funding was not the sole issue facing the service and said the cancelled operations were “part of the plan”.
Presenter Mr Marr challenged her, saying he would not be interviewing her if he had experienced the same delays following his stroke.
“If I’d been waiting for five hours before I’d seen a doctor after my stroke I would not be here talking to you,” he said.
“This is about life and death and up and down the country people are having horrendous experiences of the NHS,” he added, before asking what the PM would say to the daughter of an elderly woman who waited hours to see a doctor.
Mrs May replied: “Obviously you’ve raised an individual case with me which I haven’t seen the details of and I recognise that people have concerns if they have experience of that sort.
“If we look at what is happening across the NHS, what we see is that actually the NHS is delivering for more people, it is treating more people and more people are being seen within the four hours every day than has been a few years ago.
“But of course nothing’s perfect and there is more for us to do.”
On funding, it was suggested to Mrs May that she had done nothing to address increased pressure on the social care system.
The PM replied: “Well yes, we have done something about it, Andrew. I’m sorry, you’re wrong in that.
“We have put extra funding into the social care system and we have worked with hospitals and with local authorities to identify how we can reduce those delayed discharges, ie patients being kept in hospital when they shouldn’t be.”
Mrs May said the Government is working on its long-term plans for social care but would not be drawn on whether there is a need for a brave and radical look at how the NHS is funded.
Asked about whether she agreed with Mr Hunt’s suggestion of a 10-year funding plan, Mrs May replied: “Of course what we’re operating on at the moment is the five-year forward view for the NHS which is the forward view that the NHS themselves came forward with.
“They brought those proposals together.”
Pressed further on cash, Mrs May said: “You keep talking about the money but actually what you also need to look at is how the NHS works, how it operates.”
Shadow health secretary Jon Ashworth said of the PM: “She hasn’t got a plan to get those people off the trolleys and corridors.”
He added to the same programme: “Her only plan apparently is to promote this Health Secretary. They should be demoting this Health Secretary.
“If she promotes this Health Secretary tomorrow it’s a betrayal of those 75,000 people in the back of ambulances.”
Franz Ferdinand drummer Paul Thomson, performing at the end of the programme, appeared to show his support for the health service by wearing a t-shirt with the NHS’s logo above the Nike tick.”