‘I want to prove I’m not all mouth and trousers’: Rod Stewart meet patients benefiting from scans he promised to pay for after blasting NHS backlog and Tory cuts during surprise TV phone-in (after turning up in his Rolls Royce)
- Sir Rod visited the Princess Alexandra Hospital in Harlow, Essex, on Friday
- He had previously offered to pay for scans on a live Sky News phone-in show
Sir Rod Stewart today insisted he wanted to ‘prove I’m not all mouth and trousers’ as he visited his local NHS hospital where he paid for a day of scans for patients to help cut waiting lists.
Arriving in a white Rolls-Royce, the 78-year-old star said ‘hi everyone’ as he climbed from the luxury motor outside Princess Alexandra Hospital in Harlow, Essex.
The rock and pop icon last month called a live phone-in segment on Sky News and offered to pay for people to have hospital scans, having just returned from having a scan himself.
Wearing a cream roll-neck jumper, knee-length coat, black trousers and dark blue trainers, he shook hands with a series of NHS staff outside a mobile MRI scanning unit and posed for photographs.
The singer-songwriter joked ‘let’s all have a sing-song’ and signed his autograph for a fan, before speaking to reporters.
Sir Rod Stewart was spotted climbing out of his Rolls Royce on Friday morning to meet with NHS patients at Princess Alexandra Hospital in Harlow, Essex
The pop icon’s arrival at the hospital came after he pledge to pay for scans to help drive down NHS waiting lists
Explaining how he came to pay for a day of scans at his local hospital, Sir Rod said: ‘I had just come from my scan in a private clinic near Harley Street.
‘I walked in and said, “I’m terribly sorry I’m half hour late”. They said, “don’t worry, there’s hardly anybody in here today”.
‘There were eight people with hardly anything to do.
‘Then I thought this is a terrible injustice, so here we are.’
He said he was ‘here not to talk about politics, please, because otherwise it overshadows what we’re trying to do’.
Sir Rod, who has had six number one hits in the UK charts, said he would like to pay for scans elsewhere too.
‘If this is a big success, which I think it will be, I’d like to do it in Belfast, Dublin, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Manchester, and just keep it going, and hope some other people follow me,’ he said.
‘Because I want to prove I’m not all mouth and trousers and that’s why I’m here to prove that I followed through with it, ok folks.’
Sir Rod Stewart posed for photographs with staff members at the Princess Alexandra Hospital in Harlow
Sir Rod takes a selfie with Omarie Ryan, who was at hospital to have a scan on Friday
He added: ‘There must be enough money in the coffers to pay up for these nurses – only two years ago we were clapping and now.
‘Bless them, they work so hard, salt of the earth.’
As well as voicing his views on the ‘ridiculous’ situation facing the NHS, the pop star also waded into the war the on Ukraine.
‘We’re in dire straits. If I am going to get political, I think we should send the Ukrainians F-16s,’ Sir Rod said.
‘It’s up to you, Prime Minister. I’ve been supporting them for years, Ukrainians.
‘On stage I have the flag and I wear a blue and yellow suit and do a song and dedicate it to them.
‘I feel very strongly about it. If the Ukrainians lose it’s the end of civilisation as we know it, it’s all over.’
His message comes after one of his gigs in November, when wore the colours of the Ukrainian flag while belting out his anti-war hit ‘Rhythm of My Heart’ while President Volodymyr Zelensky was projected behind him.
As well as demanding more action to tackle the NHS, Sir Rod also waded into the Ukrainian war – which today marks its one year anniversary. The pop star appealed for Western allies to donate fighter jets to Kyiv to help them fend off the Russians
Sir Rod Stewart poses for photos with members of staff at the Princess Alexandra Hospital
Bird’s eye view: Hospital staff in their scrubs and gowns pause to snap a photo of Sir Rod during his visit to Princess Alexandra Hospital in Harlow, Essex
After speaking to reporters, Sir Rod climbed the steps to the mobile MRI scanning unit – which was positioned outside the hospital – and waited behind the exit door to surprise a patient.
READ MORE: How pop icon Sir Rod Stewart waded into the NHS backlog row by offering to pay for Britons to have hospital scans
As patient Omarie Ryan went to leave the unit, the Forever Young singer said ‘behind the door’ and moved his hand into sight for a handshake.
Sir Rod then posed for selfies with 36-year-old Mr Ryan, who had travelled from London for a routine left knee scan.
The star said: ‘So this is my first customer. All good pal? You take care of yourself, stay healthy, alright mate.’
To laughter from the gathered crowd, he added: ‘And I have a new CD coming out in five weeks’
Mr Ryan said afterwards: ‘It was a dream come true.’
Stephanie Lawton, chief operating officer at the Princess Alexandra Hospital, said Sir Rod paid for a day of scans at the hospital which would help reduce their waiting list by around 10 per cent, or around 20 patients.
‘Rod’s a local resident, we’re his local hospital, we’re really delighted to be working with him and his team for the benefit of patients and doing everything we can to reduce the waiting lists,’ she said.
Ms Lawton added: ‘It would be fantastic if he would continue to work with us.
‘We’ve got a charity, he would be a massive supporter for the organisation. We would be delighted if he wanted to continue the links.’
The pop icon spent time posing with NHS workers and patients during his visit to the hospital
He was greeted by members of the public, NHS staff and journalists at the hospital
Sir Rod today met some of the people who he had helped get treatment, the Mirror reports
Taking aim at NHS waiting lists the Mr Stewart said it was a ‘bad time’ for Great Britain and said it was ‘ridiculous’ that NHS patients are ‘dying because they can’t get scans’.
He even offered to personally pay for 10 or 20 hospital scans for NHS patients after the TV news channel had earlier heard from those experiencing long waits for treatment.
‘I don’t need the publicity, I just want to do some good things and this, I think is a good thing. And if other people follow me, I would love it.’
Since then, he has come through on his promise and today met patients whose scans he had funded, the Mirror reports.
Sir Rod said the current crisis in the NHS had persuaded him to change his political support.
Rod Stewart has pledged to help more hospitals with scans as he branded the situation facing the NHS as ‘ridiculous’
Asked about recent strikes by NHS workers over a pay dispute, Sir Rod said: ‘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 at it.
‘Because this is heartbreaking for the nurses, it really is heartbreaking.
‘In all my years of living in this country, I’ve never seen it so bad. Go on the nurses, I’m on your side!’
Sir Rod, who has previously battled prostate cancer, told the programme he has private healthcare because he has ‘a few shillings’.
He called for the NHS to be ‘rebuilt’ with ‘billions and billions’ of pounds amid the current pressures on hospitals, adding: ‘That’s the only way we’re going to get round it.’
The singer has also been active in supporting refugees from Ukraine over the past year, including putting up a family of seven and promising to pay their rent.
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