Kate Garraway clash with MP over Derek's treatment in private hospital

Kate Garraway in furious clash with Labour MP Emily Thornberry on GMB over husband Derek’s NHS treatment in private hospital during Covid battle

  • Kate Garraway clashed with Labour frontbencher Emily Thornberry today
  • GMB challenged MP over plan to use private hospitals to tackle NHS backlog
  • Ms Garraway then discussed her husband Derek Draper’s treatment
  • Mr Draper is one of the UK’s longest-suffering patients of coronavirus

Kate Garraway clashed with Labour frontbencher Emily Thornberry today over the treatment of her husband Derek Draper in private hospital during his fraught battle with coronavirus.

The Good Morning Britain presenter challenged the Shadow Attorney General over Sir Keir Starmer’s radical plan to tackle the enormous backlog by outsourcing to private hospitals. 

Challenged on whether the policy amounted to privatisation, Ms Thornberry insisted: ‘It’s not. If you’re waiting six months to get your hip replaced and there aren’t enough beds in a National Health Service hospital and there are some beds in a private hospital, we’re saying the NHS will pay for surplus capacity in the private hospitals to get the waiting list down. It’s just completely pragmatic politics’.

In response, Ms Garraway said: ‘I know from personal experience because when Derek was first sick and he had to be moved to hospital, there were no spaces on any wards for him to go for the treatment he needed. And so at that time, effectively everything was nationalised. 

‘But after a while, the private hospitals said that they couldn’t make it pay and therefore it came to an end, it reverted back. And so that seemed like a sensible way to go.’

Kate Garraway clashed with Labour frontbencher Emily Thornberry today over the treatment of her husband Derek Draper in private hospital during his fraught battle with coronavirus 

The Good Morning Britain presenter challenged the Shadow Attorney General over Sir Keir Starmer’s radical plan to tackle the enormous backlog by outsourcing to private hospitals

Ms Garraway then asked: ‘What is the argument against that?’ – and was met with stony-faced silence from the Labour frontbencher, before continuing: ‘I’d have said the argument against that was people with private insurance wouldn’t be able to jump queues. 

‘If you’re going to pay for some people who need to go to private hospitals, what about doing it for everybody?’

Ms Thornberry then responded: ‘My priority is the National Health Service’.

Last month, an emotional Ms Garraway broke down as she discussed husband Derek’s health battle.

The Good Morning host admitted that there ‘is no end point’ to his care and her new way of life can be ‘exhausting’ for those around her.

Derek is one of the UK’s longest-suffering patients of Covid after being admitted to hospital with the virus in March 2020, only returning to the family’s London home in April 2021, where he receives round-the-clock care.

She told host Lorraine Kelly: ‘And the thing is, when it’s a long battle like with Derek, there’s no end point and it can be exhausting for the people around me too. I know sometimes people say ‘oh she’s talking about that again’ but what I’ve learnt is you only really know what it feels like when you’re in it’.

Before adding: ‘And now I get contacted by thousands and thousands of people who make me feel less alone.’

Discussing Derek’s current state of health after being rushed into hospital with sepsis, she said: ‘Oh, I mean you know, it’s a long onslaught. I can see he has better days, he has worse days. He is thankfully at home now. It’s been a long battle to get him back home again’.

Sir Keir has claimed the NHS was ‘not just on its knees, it’s on its face’ as it suffers the ‘worst crisis’ in its history.

He said his party’s research showed around 230,000 patients could be moved off waiting lists each year if private care was used more effectively.

But Sir Keir has insisted he was ‘not talking about privatising the NHS’ as he was confronted by a promise he made when standing for the Labour leadership in 2020.

Among 10 pledges Sir Keir made during his campaign to replace Jeremy Corbyn, the Labour leader vowed to ‘end outsourcing in our NHS, local government and justice system’.

Derek is one of the UK’s longest-suffering patients of Covid after being admitted to hospital with the virus in March 2020, only returning to the family’s London home in April 2021, where he receives round-the-clock care 

More than 7.2million patients in England were stuck in the backlog in October (red line)— or one in eight people. More than 400,000 have queued for at least one year (yellow bars)

Keir Starmer squirms as he’s quizzed over past pledge to ‘end outsourcing in the NHS’ 


Sir Keir has already angered Labour’s left-wing in recent months by moving away from his other pledges on public ownership, free movement, tuition fees and support for trade unions.

Amid widespread reports of shocking waiting times at A&E and for ambulances, Rishi Sunak has declined to say the NHS is in ‘crisis’ – although the Prime Minister has acknowledged there is ‘enormous pressure’ on hospitals this winter.

It comes as Health Secretary Steve Barclay is urged to ‘come to the table and talk about pay’ as further talks began to tackle NHS disputes.

The leader of the body representing NHS Trusts urged the minister to act on the issue. Interim chief executive of NHS Providers Saffron Cordery said the fallout from industrial action ‘diverts attention away from the things the NHS is absolutely keen to focus on’, such as cutting waiting times and getting community services back on track.

‘We really hope they (unions and Government) can have a constructive conversation and avert some industrial action,’ she told Times Radio.

‘It would be great if the Secretary of State would come to the table and talk about pay because hopefully then that would set the pattern for… paramedics, for ambulance staff, for nurses.’

Talks with medics, particularly those from the British Medical Association (BMA), may start on a sour note after Mr Barclay cancelled a meeting on Wednesday in favour of conducting media interviews.

The Health Secretary was meeting BMA representatives along with the hospital doctors’ union HCSA and the British Dental Association on Thursday. Meanwhile, civil service unions are set to meet Cabinet Office ministers.

It comes after the Public and Commercial Services (PCS) union announced that about 100,000 civil servants will walk out on February 1 in a dispute over pay. The PCS union said that the dispute could be resolved if ministers ‘put some money on the table’.

Mark Serwotka, general secretary of the PCS union, said: ‘I am meeting with the Minister for the Cabinet Office, Jeremy Quin. If he puts some money on the table, there is a chance this dispute can be resolved. If he doesn’t, then he’ll see public services from benefits to driving tests, from passports to driving licences, from ports to airports affected by industrial action on February 1.’

And officials from the Rail Delivery Group will meet with the Rail, Maritime and Transport union and Transport Salaried Staffs’ Association in a fresh bid to break the deadlock.

MailOnline analysis of NHS England figures from last month show the rise in the backlog has disproportionately hit some medical areas — with the number in the queue for gynaecology and dermatology treatment almost doubling since the pandemic began. The number of patients waiting for plastic surgery, gastroenterology and ear, nose and throat treatment also jumped by up to 74 per cent as of October last year

Meanwhile, over the same period other medical areas have seen the biggest spike in their backlogs. The number of respiratory medicine patients queuing surged 33 per cent, while backlogs in neurology, dermatology, cardiology and gynaecology jumped by up to 29 per cent

The graph shows the number of people queuing for treatment by medical area in March 2020 (orange), when Covid first hit, compared to latest data from October 2022. Gynaecology, dermatology and plastic surgery saw the biggest rises in backlogs 

Transport Secretary Mark Harper raised hopes of a breakthrough within ‘days’ as he confirmed a ‘renewed offer’ was on the table ahead of the talks.

The unions have made it clear they need a new offer on pay, jobs and conditions before the dispute can end.

The meetings come after 14 health unions announced that they will not be submitting evidence to the NHS pay review body for the next wage round while the current industrial disputes remain unresolved.

The 14 unions, representing more than one million ambulance staff, nurses, porters, healthcare assistants, physiotherapists and other NHS workers in England, have called for direct pay talks with ministers.

Unions said they believe the lengthy pay review body process is not able to deliver a deal that resolves the current pay and staffing dispute, which has led to a series of strikes.

Ambulance workers and nurses on strike in London

Matthew Taylor, chief executive of the NHS Confederation, said: ‘For NHS leaders there is a real fear that the risk to patients will only intensify with future strikes, including for nurses and physiotherapists planned in the coming weeks, and no sign of resolution on the horizon.

‘In what is by far the toughest winter in the NHS for a decade, and set against the perfect storm of rising levels of winter illnesses including Covid and flu and huge staff vacancies, the Government must not turn a blind eye on the situation.

‘It must reach an agreement with trade unions as soon as possible.’

In other strike updates:

  • Workers on London’s Elizabeth line were on strike while the capital’s bus workers at Abellio were also taking industrial action;
  • Rural Payments Agency (RPA) staff continued their walkout;
  • The PCS stoppage will coincide with the TUC’s ‘protect the right to strike’ day, which was announced in reaction to the Government’s controversial legislation on minimum service levels during industrial action;
  • The National Education Union (NEU) and teachers’ union NASUWT, as well as school leaders’ union the National Association of Head Teachers (NAHT), are balloting members on strike action in England and Wales with results due in the coming week;
  • NHS officials are working on contingency plans for the planned walkout of nurses on January 18 and 19 and further ambulance service strikes on January 23;
  • About 45,000 members of the British Medical Association were balloted on Monday over the prospect of strike action, with the result due at the end of February. The BMA has told the Government if there is a yes vote, junior doctors will begin their action with a 72-hour ‘full walkout’ in March;
  • Junior doctor members of the HCSA are currently voting in a strike ballot which closes on January 20, which could result in walkouts in February.

Meanwhile, NHS leaders will be assessing the impact of Wednesday’s ambulance strikes where up to 25,000 ambulance workers with the GMB and Unison unions staged walkouts.

Dr Adrian Boyle, president of the Royal College of Emergency Medicine, has warned that strike action can lead to ‘pent-up demand’ in the days after walkouts.

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