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MPs fell silent today as Boris Johnson was confronted with the case of a man who watched his mum die waiting for an ambulance.

A rowdy exchange with Keir Starmer over NHS pressures had a moment of human tragedy as Labour ’s leader raised three cases in the House of Commons.

Sir Keir highlighted how 20-year-old Hamza Semakula, a semi-professional footballer for Hendon, had to fundraise for private surgery to avoid a two-year wait to repair a torn ligament.

And MPs went quiet as he continued: “I also spoke to Akshay Patel.

“Last year, his mother woke up unable to breathe.

“Akshay called 999 six times. In his last call, he said ‘I rang an hour ago for an ambulance and she had difficulty breathing and now she’s dead’.

Bina Patel died waiting for an ambulance ( Ashkay Patel)
Bina Patel with her two sons before her death ( Ashkay Patel)

“Even he must admit that Akshay, [his mother] Bina and Hamza deserve better than a wanting and inadequate government, utterly unable to improve our NHS.”

Akshay, 28, previously told reporters how Bina, 56, woke him in the middle of the night at their home in Ashton-under-Lyne, Tameside on October 11.

North West Ambulance Service previously apologised over the case, saying: “In this case, we can never say sorry enough. The amount of time it took for help to arrive is unacceptable.

“The exceptional demand we have faced has regularly seen resources over-stretched. While we understand it will be of little comfort to her family, we want to make clear no human error led to the delay faced by Mrs Patel.”

Boris Johnson today insisted “everybody in the House has sympathy with Akshay and the other constituents and their families. I share their feelings.”

Bina and her son, Ashkay, who frantically tried to save his mother’s life ( Ashkay Patel)
Akshay, 28, previously told reporters how Bina, 56, woke him in the middle of the night at their home in Ashton-under-Lyne, Tameside on October 11 ( Ashkay Patel)

But he quickly moved on, saying: “When you look at what this government is doing… we are making colossal investments in our NHS, we’re cutting waiting times, we’re raising standards, we’re paying nurses more, we’re supporting our fantastic NHS.

“And by the way he continually came to this house, let me remind him of this, and said we had the worst Covid record in Europe. It turned out to be completely untrue. He still hasn’t retracted it.”

Opening PMQs, Labour Leader Sir Keir Starmer asked: “Why did his Culture Secretary – I think she is hiding along the bench – say that successive Conservative governments left our health service wanting and inadequate when the pandemic hit?”

Boris Johnson replied: “Everybody knows that when the pandemic hit it was an entirely novel virus for which the whole world was unprepared. Nobody at that stage, nobody knew how to test for it, nobody knew what the right quarantine rules should be.

“But as it happened, the UK Government and our amazing NHS not only approved the first vaccine anywhere in the world, we were the first to get it into anybody’s arms and we had the fastest rollout anywhere in Europe.”

Boris Johnson tried to move on from the topic at hand

Sir Keir Starmer responded that the Prime Minister had “just agreed with the Culture Secretary”, and went on to say that a growing number of people were “unhappy” with GP services.

He asked: “Despite the hard work of doctors, people cannot see a GP in person, they are unhappier than ever with GP services. If GP provision was ‘wanting and inadequate’ before the pandemic, what is it now?”

Boris Johnson replied that the Labour leader was “simply wrong”.

He added: “He is wrong about what we are doing and of course we have got to clear the Covid backlogs, and everybody understands the pressure that the NHS is under, but they are responding magnificently.”

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