Rod Stewart offers to pay for NHS scans, during TV phone-in

Listen to part of Sir Rod Stewart's phone-in

Rocker Rod Stewart has made a surprise phone call to a British news program to offer to donate money for medical scans after listening to heart-wrenching stories from stranded patients.

Sir Rod called into a live Sky News phone-in about the crisis in Britain’s National Health Service on Thursday, slamming the “ridiculous” state of the country’s health system and urging the Conservative government to stand down.

“This is heartbreaking for the nurses,” the 78-year-old singer told the show’s hosts.

“It really is heartbreaking. In all my years of living in this country, I’ve never seen it so bad.

Sir Rod – who broke into his time spent working on his famous model railroad to make the call – said he would like to donate the money for “10 or 20 scans”, after listening to the discussion about the NHS.

“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,” he said.

Horror stories have been emerging from the NHS, which is under severe strain due to the pandemic and years of budget cuts. In recent weeks, thousands of nurses and ambulance workers have gone on strike over pay and conditions.

Sara Gorton, head of health at trade union UNISON, said earlier in January that ambulance response times were worsening and hospital waiting lists were growing because of staff shortages.

“The NHS staffing crisis is so acute only prompt action on pay – both for this and the next financial year – can start to turn things around,” she said.

Sir Rod expressed his support for the striking nurses, telling the Sky News hosts that the NHS should be “rebuilt with billions and billions”.

“I’m on your side,” he said.

He said the Tory government led by Prime Minister Rishi Sunak should quit and “give the Labour Party a go”.

“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,” Sir Rod said.

“Change the b—-y government.”

Among those who called into Thursday’s TV show to share NHS horror stories was a woman whose father had died earlier in January after catching COVID and pneumonia in hospital while waiting five months to be discharged.

Another caller said that she had been on a waiting list for an appointment for three years.

“I’m losing the will to live,” she said.

Sir Rod finished his phone call with an impromptu rendition of part of one of his greatest hits, Maggie May.

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