Rishi Sunak said he will ‘always protect an NHS free at point of use’ (Picture: Reuters)
Rishi Sunak said the NHS is ‘in my blood’ as he pledged to defend it in a speech to business leaders.
Addressing the CBI conference in Birmingham, the prime minister said the health service would always be free at the point of use under his government.
He made the comments after Nicola Sturgeon was forced to rule out a two-tier NHS Scotland – with richer patients paying for care – suggested in a leaked document by health chiefs.
Mr Sunak said: ‘I grew up in an NHS family, it’s in my blood. And as your prime minister, I will always protect an NHS free at the point of use.’
But he told delegates the government will ‘radically innovate how we do things’, adding: ‘That’s how to really improve the quality and speed of care, and make the money we invest in the NHS go further.’
The PM resisted business demands for a relaxation on visa rules, saying illegal immigration had to be brought under control first.
But he announced a scheme to attract ‘the world’s top 100 young talents’ in artificial intelligence (AI).
Mr Sunak and Nicola Sturgeon, who ruled out a two-tier NHS in Scotland (Picture: Simon Dawson/No10 Downing Street)
‘We cannot allow the world’s top AI talent to be drawn to America or China,’ he said.
‘If we’re going to have a system that allows businesses to access the best and brightest from around the world, we need to do more to give the British people trust and confidence that the system works and is fair. That means tackling illegal migration.’
CBI director-general Tony Danker said he welcomed Mr Sunak’s ‘passion’ for innovation but added: ‘We have over a million vacancies and we have to get people to plug the gap while we recalibrate the labour market.’
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