Rishi Sunak is “passionate about the NHS”, a Cabinet colleague said after it emerged the Prime Minister is registered with a private GP practice.
The west London clinic where he is registered charges £250 for a half-hour consultation and guarantees that patients with urgent concerns are seen “on the day”, the Guardian reported.
Cabinet minister Chris Heaton-Harris would not comment on Mr Sunak’s healthcare arrangements but insisted he was committed to the NHS.
Asked if the NHS was safe in the hands of a Prime Minister who appears to use private GPs, Mr Heaton-Harris said Mr Sunak’s record showed his support for the health service.
Questioned why Mr Sunak needed a private GP with all the money being pumped into the NHS, Northern Ireland Secretary Mr Heaton-Harris told Sky News: “I’m not going to get involved in individual cases in the slightest.
“I just know that he is a man who is passionate about the NHS and what it does for our country.”
Downing Street refused to comment on medical matters relating to the Prime Minister.
The Guardian reported that the private surgery, which it has not named, offers appointments in the evenings and at weekends, as well as consultations by email or phone that cost up to £150.
Patients can request home visits from doctors for which they are charged between £400 and £500, depending on the time and also charges up to £80 for prescriptions.
On Monday Mr Sunak, whose father was a GP while his mother ran a pharmacy, used a major speech to highlight his family links with the NHS.
“And as your Prime Minister, I will always protect an NHS free at the point of use.
“And that’s why, in a budget where we had to make savings overall, we didn’t cut the funding for health and social care, we increased it by £8 billion.
“So let no-one ever doubt our commitment to the brilliant men and women who work in our NHS.”