'My daughter nearly died yesterday. There are NOT enough doctors or nurses': Furious Labour activist father of sick baby girl confronts Boris Johnson and accuses him of 'destroying' the NHS

  • Boris Johnson was visiting Whipps Cross University Hospital in London today
  • PM was confronted by parent of sick boy who complained of NHS 'destruction'
  • He said there were not enough doctors or nurses and situation 'not acceptable' 
  • Mr Johnson tried to calm the encounter and argued more funding is coming  

Boris Johnson was berated by the angry parent of a sick baby who accused him of 'destroying' the NHS as he visited a hospital today. 

Omar Salem, a local Labour activist, told the PM during the encounter at Whipps Cross University Hospital in north-east London that his seven-day old daughter 'nearly died'.

Complaining there were 'not enough doctors or nurses', the furious man said: 'This ward is not safe for children.'

He told Mr Johnson: 'There are not enough people on this ward, there are not enough doctors, there's not enough nurses, it's not well organised enough. 

'The NHS has been destroyed... and now you come here for a press opportunity.'

As staff tried to intervene and calm the situation, Mr Johnson said he was 'actually here to find out what we can do'. He said billions of pounds more funding was being pumped into the health service. 

But the man retorted: 'That's not going to fix things now. Years and years of the NHS being destroyed.'

It is the latest in a series of episodes when the PM has been disrupted by protests - and underlines the pressure he is under on a variety of political fronts. 

A Twitter account apparently belonging to Mr Salem, a lawyer thought to be in his 20s, gave more details of his motivations this afternoon. 

Boris Johnson had the temerity to come to @WhippsCrossHosp for a press opportunity on the children's ward that my 7 day old daughter is on, having been admitted to A&E yesterday gravely ill. 

'The A&E team were great but she then went for hours on the ward without seeing a doctor.'

Omar Salem, whose child was being treated at Whipps Cross University Hospital in north-east London , accosted the PM to complain there were not enough doctors and nurses

Omar Salem, whose child was being treated at Whipps Cross University Hospital in north-east London , accosted the PM to complain there were not enough doctors and nurses

Alan Gurney, chief executive of Whipps Cross hospital (pictured centre) tried to intervene in the spat today

Alan Gurney, chief executive of Whipps Cross hospital (pictured centre) tried to intervene in the spat today 

When Mr Salem accused him of only coming for a photo op, Mr Johnson said there were no press with him. But Mr Salem then pointed to the cameras and reporters down the corridor

When Mr Salem accused him of only coming for a photo op, Mr Johnson said there were no press with him. But Mr Salem then pointed to the cameras and reporters down the corridor

During the extraordinary clash, Mr Johnson denied coming to the hospital for a photo op, saying 'there's no press here'.

How the exchange between the PM and Omar Salem unfolded

Omar Salem approached the PM in a corridor at Whipps Cross Hospital today. 

He said: 'My daughter nearly died yesterday. I came in and the A&E guys were great... but then I came down to this ward here...

'It took us two hours for adrenaline to be put into my seven-day old daughter..

'She was six days and 22 hours or something.

'That is just not acceptable.  This ward is not safe for children.'

He went on: 'There was one registrar covering the entire (inaudible) and neonatal unit... would you like that for your own children?' 

He told Mr Johnson: 'There are not enough people on this ward, there are not enough doctors, there's not enough nurses, it's not well organised enough. 

'The NHS has been destroyed... and now you come here for a press opportunity.'

Mr Johnson interjected: 'Actually there is no press here.' 

But pointing to the waiting cameras in the corridor, Mr Salem said: 'What do you mean there's no press, who are these people?' 

As staff tried to intervene and calm the situation, Mr Johnson said he was 'actually here to find out what we can do'. He said billions of pounds more funding was being pumped into the health service. 

But Mr Salem: 'That's not going to fix things now. Years and years of the NHS being destroyed.'

He said there had been 'years and years and years of the NHS being destroyed'. 

Mr Johnson said 'I understand', 'we're working on it' and 'we're putting more money into it' as the trust chief executive tried to step in. 

But the incredulous parent gestured to cameras filming the confrontation and said: 'What do you mean there's no press here, who are these people?' 

The man did not give details of exactly what happened to his daughter, but said she was brought into A&E yesterday, when she was six days and 22 hours old.

He suggested the treatment there had been satisfactory, but problems began when they were brought to the ward and had to wait hours for care. 

'That is not acceptable,' the man said. 'This ward is not safe for children. There was one registrar covering the entire (inaudible) and neonatal unit... would you like that for your own children?'

He said there had been 'years and years and years of the NHS being destroyed'. 

Mr Johnson said 'I understand', 'we're working on it' and 'we're putting more money into it' as the trust chief executive tried to intervene. 

A spokesman for the Prime Minister said he was visiting public services to see for himself the reality of the situation. 

The spokesman said the man was understandably 'very distressed', and Mr Johnson was 'not going to hide away from those circumstances when he goes on these visits'.

'Obviously he is keen to talk to people and empathise and see what he can do to help,' the spokesman added. 

'It's also a reminder of why exactly he is so keen to make the NHS a priority and make sure it's getting the funding that it requires.'

On his Twitter feed, Mr Salem said: 'Boris Johnson has been an MP, Mayor of London, Cabinet Minister and now PM while the NHS has been neglected, just as my daughter was last night.

'Rather than drips of money for press opportunities he should get on with properly supporting the NHS so that patients get the care they deserve, there is adequate staffing with good working conditions and worried fathers like me can have some peace of mind.'

Labour said Mr Johnson was being confronted by the effects of Conservative austerity and hit out at his claim there was 'no press' at the event.

Tottenham MP David Lammy said: 'He just can't stop lying.' 

Lawyer and local Labour activist who confronted the PM 

Omar Salem is a lawyer and lives in South Woodford.

According to his Twitter feed, Mr Salem, thought to be in his 20s, is a Labour activist.

He has campaigned against Brexit and says he wants to help bring about a 'socialist Europe'.

Mr Salem has posted pictures of himself at various events staged by Labour MPs including lford North's Wes Streeting - who retweeted his comments on Mr Johnson.

He is also shown with shadow chancellor John McDonnell in one photo. 

Shadow health secretary Jonathan Ashworth said: 'Boris Johnson simply can't be honest with people.

'He can make as many phoney announcements on the NHS as he likes but he can't hide from the truth, or from patients.

'The Tories have plunged the health service into crisis through years of cuts and privatisation and the Prime Minister can't run from the consequences this has had for patient care.'

Responding to Omar Salem's claim there were not enough doctors and nurses on a children's ward, Alan Gurney, chief executive of Whipps Cross hospital, said: 'We are constantly reviewing staffing levels on our wards to ensure our patients are safe at all times, but occasionally - as in fact happened on this ward last night - an unexpected emergency in one part of the hospital can cause a temporary pressure elsewhere.'

Theresa May unveiled plans last year to boost the NHS England budget by £20billion by 2023.  

Downing Street said the government had recently invested another £1.8billion into frontline services and were upgrading 20 hospitals across the country. 

Mr Johnson chatted to patients on his trip to the hospital in north-east London today

Mr Johnson chatted to patients on his trip to the hospital in north-east London today

The PM also found time to share a joke with some nurses over a cup of team today

The PM also found time to share a joke with some nurses over a cup of team today

Mr Johnson pressed on with the visit (pictured) despite the tense encounter with the frustrated parent today

Mr Johnson pressed on with the visit (pictured) despite the tense encounter with the frustrated parent today

Boris Johnson is confronted by angry parent on hospital visit 

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