By Charlotte McLaughlin, PA Senior Entertainment Reporter
Sir Rod Stewart called a phone-in segment on live Sky News to offer to pay for people to have hospital scans, amid the rising number of people on NHS waiting lists.
Singer-songwriter Stewart, 78, who was watching the segment Your Say on Thursday while building his model railway at home, made the unscheduled appearance after he heard people’s stories of trying to access healthcare.
He said the situation was “ridiculous”, compared with him being able to afford private healthcare and going for a scan easily at an “empty” clinic.
Stewart told the programme: “I would like to pay for 10 or 20 scans, or however much it takes.
“I don’t know how we’re (going to) work this out and, hopefully, some other people will follow, because it seems ridiculous that this particular scanning clinic was empty.
“There are people dying because they cannot get scans.
“I don’t need the publicity. I just want to do some good things and this, I think, it’s a good thing, because if other people follow me, I’d love it.”
Nurses, ambulance staff and other NHS workers have taken strike action in recent months, with more walkouts planned in the coming weeks.
Stewart, who is a Conservative voter, also called for the NHS to be “rebuilt” with “billions” of pounds.
Stewart, who has had six number one hits in the UK charts, added: “I personally have been a Tory for a long time but I think this Government should stand out now and give the Labour Party a go at it, because this is heart-breaking for the nurses.
“It really is heart-breaking. In all my years of living in this country, I’ve never seen it so bad and anything I could do to help.
“Poor nurses, I’m on your side.”
Stewart also said: “This is a bad time for us in Great Britain, it really is. Change the bloody government.”
He added: “It’s just terribly sad. I’m so proud to be British and I can’t stand it being this way.”
Viewers were told to get in touch with Sky News to get a scan paid for by Sir Rod.