Home Health ‘What are you going to do about our broken NHS?’: Rottweiler Jeremy Paxman returns to political fray for first time after revealing Parkinson’s battle to grill Wes Streeting over care plans

‘What are you going to do about our broken NHS?’: Rottweiler Jeremy Paxman returns to political fray for first time after revealing Parkinson’s battle to grill Wes Streeting over care plans

0 comment
Jeremy Paxman demanded to know what Wes Streeting plans to do about the 'broken' NHS

He once struck terror into the hearts of politicians with his incisive and relentless interview techniques.

But Jeremy Paxman, who asked the same question to then Home Secretary Michael Howard 12 times during an appearance on Newsnight, cut a slightly softer figure during his return to broadcasting yesterday.

The former BBC presenter, who quit the corporation three years ago after being diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease, now runs a podcast, Movers and Shakers, in which celebrities discuss the challenges of living with the degenerative disease.

Over a pint of beer and munching on a Scotch egg, Paxman grilled the health and social care secretary in a London pub, a world away from the intense studies where he spent his career questioning ministers and MPs.

But despite his casual checked shirt and unkempt mop of white hair, the star journalist soon showed he has lost none of his renowned bite, dragging Streeting over the embers of his plans for the NHS.

Jeremy Paxman demanded to know what Wes Streeting plans to do about the ‘broken’ NHS

Paxman drank a pint of beer and ate a Scotch egg during the interview in a London pub, a world away from his

Paxman drank a pint of beer and ate a Scotch egg during the interview in a London pub, a world away from his

Streeting has pledged to speed up the diagnosis and treatment of Parkinson's disease by delivering 62,000 more neurological appointments a year on the NHS.

Streeting has pledged to speed up the diagnosis and treatment of Parkinson’s disease by delivering 62,000 more neurological appointments a year on the NHS.

As the politician declared the health service was “broken”, Paxman, 74, stepped in and asked: “Well, what are you going to do about it?”

Streeting is the first politician to appear on the podcast, which has been running since last year.

He used the interview to promise to speed up the diagnosis and treatment of Parkinson’s disease by making 62,000 more neurological appointments a year in the NHS if his party wins the July 4 general election.

There are currently 234,119 patients in England on the waiting list for neurology services and almost half have been waiting longer than the NHS target of 18 weeks at the end of April.

It means that many of your illnesses will not have been diagnosed and could have worsened during that wait.

Speaking on the podcast, which will be published on Saturday, Streeting recalled how he had a “terrifying experience” being interviewed by Paxman on Newsnight when he was president of the National Union of Students.

Paxman now runs a podcast called Movers and Shakers that features celebrities discussing the challenges of living with Parkinson's disease.

Paxman now runs a podcast called Movers and Shakers that features celebrities discussing the challenges of living with Parkinson’s disease.

Other presenters include former BBC journalists Rory Cellan-Jones, Mark Mardell and Gillian Lacey-Solymar, plus Princess Diana's divorce lawyer Sir Nick Mostyn and Vicar of Dibley co-writer Paul Mayhew-Archer.

Other presenters include former BBC journalists Rory Cellan-Jones, Mark Mardell and Gillian Lacey-Solymar, plus Princess Diana’s divorce lawyer Sir Nick Mostyn and Vicar of Dibley co-writer Paul Mayhew-Archer.

He added: “I didn’t think it would happen again. I thought I had escaped when you left Newsnight, but here I am, undergoing the Paxo treatment.

Other hosts of the podcast, all of whom have Parkinson’s disease, are several of Paxman’s former colleagues: former BBC News technology correspondent Rory Cellan-Jones, former BBC Europe and North America editor Mark Mardell , and correspondent Gillian Lacey-Solymar. Also in the line-up is the late Princess Diana’s divorce lawyer Sir Nick Mostyn and the Vicar of Dibley’s co-writer Paul Mayhew-Archer.

Streeting said: “Too many patients living with Parkinson’s disease are being left in the slow lane thanks to 14 years of Conservative chaos, facing unacceptable waits to be diagnosed and treated.”

‘Jeremy, Gillian, Paul, Rory, Nicholas and Mark know how important it is to receive a timely diagnosis to get the treatment and care patients need.

‘NHS Parkinson’s services urgently need change and only the Labor Party has a plan to achieve this.

“We will increase the number of neurology appointments each year by 62,000 and eliminate the 18-week backlog to get the NHS back on its feet.”

The podcast hosts marked World Parkinson’s Day earlier this year by launching their ‘Parky Letter’, featuring tens of thousands of names, in Downing Street.

Calls for rapid access to specialists for people with Parkinson’s within the NHS, the introduction of a Parkinson’s leaflet in the UK for greater awareness and support, the implementation of a Parkinson’s passport giving automatic entitlement to specific benefits, improved comprehensive care, including regular consultations with a Parkinson’s nurse, and increased government funding for research into a cure for the disease.

The group said: ‘The Movers and Shakers are delighted that Wes Streeting has recognized the importance of our Parky letter and promised an additional 62,000 neurological appointments.

‘We are delighted that you see diseases like Parkinson’s at the heart of Labour’s vision for the NHS.

“If Labor forms the next government, we will be watching closely to make sure this actually happens, and we will push hard for the rest of the Charter to be implemented.”

Paxman, who quit his BBC role after revealing his diagnosis in May 2021, previously said: “Parkinson’s may not kill you, but it will make you wish you had never been born.”

“The drug companies don’t make anything from this, they just make more money.”

Movers and Shakers started in February 2023 and is described by the former Newsnight and University Challenge presenter as “a lot of fun”.

You may also like